I was inspired to try this one again. In my previous attempts I’ve had some difficulty in getting the steeping parameters right. It doesn’t seem to be a very forgiving blend, and I have a strong suspicion that it’s the Darjeeling that I’m nearly certain it contains that is mocking me. Indian blacks can be so stubborn sometimes.
I think I’ve got it right now though. The aroma is very sweet, honey sweet, and there’s a subtle spicy note underneath. It’s still a very dark brew, but it doesn’t look like coffee this time.
Ah yes, the taste is much much better this time too! I think I said my original guess as to a rating would probably be around 75-80 points, but I think I’ll give it a little more than that. As horribly bitter as it can get when not done right, as lovely it will be when it is.
There is an Assam-y/Ceylon-y note and there is also the one that I think is Darjeeling, but it’s under control here. Instead of being overwhelming with the grass-y bitterness as in the two Fail pots, it’s lying under the surface, lending the blend a little freshness. Perky, even.
I’m not really sure where the Chinese blacks are in all this. I suspect they’re bullied out by the Indians and the Ceylon, cowering somewhere in a corner. There is a cocoa-y note somewhere in there, but it’s not very pronounced. It’s like a stealth note from the Chinese that doesn’t really come to its right.
It’s a nice blend if you can figure out how to brew it best, but given the amount of Fail it can be when not done right and how much experimenting I’ve had to do so far, I don’t think I’d ever really want to buy a larger quantity of it. Maybe a sample tin now and then, but that’s it, really. Give me a Chinese black any day. They’re less finicky.