Whew! I’m back! Scotland was AMAAAAAAAAAZZZZING!!! It felt really good to find my roots… to see where we came from. Seeing the landscape and hearing the stories and the history of the place gave me insight into the lives, the lifestyle, and the conditions that my ancestors left behind when they came to Canada many generations ago. It was enlightening, and inspiring.
But let’s talk about the tea! The only tea I had in Scotland was terrible! Just like the tea I had in Manchester in December… dark, dusty, and bitter! I tried brewing it twice, and then gave up on tea and stuck with water. I guess I should have gone native, and added milk and sugar. Well, I went looking for some nice Scottish tea to try, but the supermarket only stocked a couple of boxes of the same dull breakfast tea. I never found any loose-leaf tea shops like we have here on every street corner. The tourist shops all sold the same 3 boxes of “Scottish” tea: “Heather-flavoured”, “Whisky-flavoured”, and “Breakfast Tea”. I was intrigued by the “Heather” tea, but the artificial flavouring was a turn-off. I left it there. I’m sure that Edinburgh must have some specialty tea shops SOMEWHERE, but I never stumbled across any. (to be fair, I didn’t do a proper search… just didn’t happen to find any.)
So, here I am, home again… and wanting some GOOD tea! This ‘formosa bai hao‘ from adagio teas is also known as ‘Oriental Beauty’, and I KNOW how much I love that! The leaves are dark brown, crispy little twists, and the aroma is dark, earthy, and with fruity dark berry notes… currants, raisins, blackberries. Smells yummy!
I steep 1 tsp in a basket strainer for about 1 minute. The tea is a light caramel colour, and it smells like tea, caramel, and hints of berries.
The first sip is sweet and malty… very smooth and rich in texture, with a satisfying ‘tea’ taste. It’s in the aftertaste that I get the wonderful rich fruit flavours… raisins, blackberries, currants. It’s reminding me of a rich butter tart with raisins (a classic Canadian dessert)! Or, it’s also like a fresh-out-of-the-oven oatmeal cookie with plump, juicy raisins… not the little dried up pellets that break your teeth, but the really sweet, rich, juicy ones! I’m not finding this ‘Oriental Beauty’ to be quite as sweet, or malty as some others I’ve had, but it’s very good, with a nice smooth, rich feel.
I steep a second cup for about 4 minutes. This cup is smooth, velvety, with a more pronounced ‘tea’ flavour, but with none of the malt of the first cup. The currant and raisin aftertaste is still notable. There is no bitterness or astringency at all.
This is a nice, mellow cup of tea with a mild sweetness, a bit of berry/raisin freshness, and a gorgeous smooth mouthfeel… perfect for relaxing and reflecting on a lazy Saturday morning after a long journey.