10 July 2019

Blue Tea Box - Tea Selection Box (@BlueTeaBox) By @SpectreUK

This is my longest blog ever… Please bear with me ;-)

It's rare I'll quote from a website, however, as a bit of a tea fanatic and the fact that Blue Tea Box sent me three of their loose leaf tea blends to blog about, I feel obliged;

"Discover rare and single-origin loose-leaf teas from across the world. Selected for your personal preference, ethically sourced, freshly hand-packed, and delivered in a sleek, letterbox friendly box."

… besides, it does seem to sum up the brand perfectly. The three teas I picked were delivered in a very smart box photographed by Cinabar. I have "Oolong", which I haven't had a for a few years. I have "Duchess Earl Grey", which I'm looking forward too, been as though I used to hate Earl Grey when I was a child, and now I just can't drink enough of it. I'm intrigued to understand why it's called "Duchess". The last of the three teas is "Pu-erh", which sounds like a noise one may make when drinking something particularly unpleasant!

Duchess Earl Grey

I had to pick the "Duchess Earl Grey" first. I reckon it'll be my favourite, however, I'm trying not to pass judgement before tasting. I'm leaving the "Pu-erh" until last… just in case it kills me!

A useful cheatsheet (well; postcard) comes with each tea. I shan't bang on about that too much, although it does tell you the origin of the tea, how to brew it, and how good it is for you health-wise. I will also say it does rather helpfully tell me the difference between regular Earl Grey and "Duchess Earl Grey". There is no bergamot in the Duchess variety. Instead with the black tea the ingredients have orange pieces, cornflower, rose petals and lime leaves.

On opening the resealable 45g packet there was a strong smell of orange and zesty lime, with a little rose and black tea leaves. After brewing a cup with my trusty old stainless steel teapot shaped tea strainer and adding a spot of milk, I let the brew cool a little and took a tentative sip. On taste the orange pieces mix with the cornflower and rose to begin with producing a refreshing flavour, with the lime leaves entering towards the aftertaste. I was pleased that even though I completely filled my teapot strainer I still have a large amount of this "Duchess Earl Grey" to enjoy in the future.

Oolong Tea

I have had Oolong tea before, so I can't say in any way I'll dislike this one. However, on saying that I haven't drank Oolong tea for soo-long that I can't remember what it tastes like. I must be going a bit funny in my old age. I can remember what Keemun and Nilgiri taste like, just not Oolong… Anyway the cheat-card tells me what it tastes like, even though I tried not to read that bit and find out for myself. I was amused by the ingredients, which weren't such a list as the "Duchess Earl Grey", because it just states; Ingredients - Oolong tea.

On brewing this Oolong tea I noticed on the cheat-card it states "with or without milk", which was the same as the "Duchess Earl Grey". The "Duchess Earl Grey" was pretty dark and a spot of milk went really well with it, however, this Oolong looked far too light to have milk added, so I left it out. I can see what they mean on the cheat-card where they say "orchard like aroma". On taste I was right not to add any milk as in my opinion this Oolong tea was too delicate in flavour. There's a light leafiness in the taste with a smooth yet slightly sweet aftertaste. It's very a dainty drink and almost tastes a little like a green tea. It certainly went down well after my lunch.

Pu-erh Tea

'Ere we go! The one that's worrying me. The description of the flavour on the cheat-card is "mellow and deep earthy", which brings out thoughts of beetroot for some reason. I don't think it's going to taste of beetroot, well I hope not. I did have a particularly bad experience when I tried to drink beetroot juice for a blog some years ago!

Lemon pieces, cornflower blossoms, and vanilla flavouring has been added to this Pu-erh China tea and black tea blend. Presumably this is to try and dull down the beetroot flavour? I have no idea what "mellow and deep earthy" means. Perhaps I should be drinking this in a cave?

Unlike the Oolong, this Pu-erh brews as a darker tea, so I added milk to this drink. There was the sweet smooth smell of vanilla and a zesty lemon smell once I took my teapot shaped strainer out of my mug. On taste this is a pretty strong tea blend. The bitter citrus flavours from the lemon hit my tastebuds first followed closely behind by the sweetness from the vanilla, and then finally both teas that were used to make this tea blend.

I'm not sure about this blend personally. I think the lemon pieces are a little strong, and could possibly have been left out altogether, or at least be a little smaller, so I don't have to break bits off to put in my teapot tea strainer. The vanilla is a welcome addition and instead of unbalancing the beer like my blog the other day, this time it calmed down the lemon and brought out the tea flavours. I was just happy that this tea didn't taste like beetroot!

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