Huge Puffer Fish packed with spikes
Join Date: Nov 2010
Harney & Sons English Breakfast + Dunhill Nightcap
My first tea review! Here goes nothing.
Tea: Harney and Sons English Breakfast
Pairing: An aged English
H&S English breakfast is a fantastic black tea. I’ve always thought black teas go exceedingly well with latakia blends and blends that feature prominent use of condiment tobaccos like Balkans or full bodied VaPers. Most “English Breakfast” teas are going to be stronger blacks and many of them will mention in the steeping suggestions that you steep them for 4-5 minutes. It’s generally a rule of thumb that a “conventional” steep be 3-4 minutes (to gain the maximum “good” flavor while avoiding bitterness) but I find that if the tin suggests a longer time, try it.
This cup was steeped from the loose leaf tinned version. I find that with this blend, the tinned blend is more consistent taste-wise than its bagged counterpart (which is a common site in many smaller coffee shops).
I do really enjoy this blend because it is 100% keemun black tea, a more muted and sophisticated black tea. Most English breakfast teas include Darjeeling as well, especially in America. Darjeeling gives teas a coffee-like bitterness that coffee-drinking America seems to respond very favorably to. If that’s what you’re looking for, give your keemun teas a slight squeeze as they steep, it will release some of the more bitter notes in the blend.
Anyway, I smoked some Dunhill Nightcap with this. My tin of Dunhill has been “open-air” aged, I guess you can say. As it sits in the jar, I open it, mix it around and reseal it about once every other week. The latakia has lost a bit of the sharpness indicative of its profile. I know aging English tobaccos isn’t recommended for this reason but I find that my mellowed nightcap matches this tea very well. The smokiness of the latakia and spice of perique is accentuated by the mellow peaty taste of the tea. Keemun has a smooth “banana” feel to it. Like how when you eat a banana, you can taste it all over your mouth but it’s a very mild almost tasteless taste? This tea has a very mild note to it that bathes the palate but is very esoteric in taste. It almost gives your mouth a numb feeling. The taste is there but at the same time, is nearly tasteless. Many herbal teas exhibit this quality and I find it is a hallmark of a very well balanced blend.
H&S English breakfast also has a bit of an apple taste to it. A very dry, mealy apple flavor is apparent on the forefront of the palate. With the piquant taste of perique from the nightcap, a sort of “apple cranberry” flavor is created. Altogether, I find this combination quite enjoyable and I recommend it to any of you English blend smokers. Pick up some decent English breakfast tea (and keep an eye out for the loose leaf version of this stuff) and try it with your latakia. You won’t regret it!
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