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Couldn’t resist this one, as I love the traditional Christmastime baked goods from German-speaking Europe known as Lebkuchen, and I wanted to build up my non-caffeine collection as well. It also interested me because it includes sandalwood, a scent I like but not something I’ve ever seen in tea before. The dry leaf smells warm and spicy, and very yummy.

Wanting to wring a decent amount of flavor out of it, I steeped it for seven minutes and got a nice deep reddish brown liquor that smelled strongly of cinnamon with the sweetness of almonds lurking in the background. I know this will cry out for additives, but I’ll try it first without – strong indeed in the cinnamon department! Quick, some half/half and sugar…now that’s lovely. The almond comes into its own now; boy does that nut know how to play well with dairy products! Post-additive, cinnamon and almond are still the stars of the show, with cardamom showing up as a lingering aftertaste. Not clear on where the sandalwood may be, but I’m happy to try this again another time to try and find out!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!

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Washington, DC

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