96

I love this tea. The dry aroma seems to arise from the dead ashes of last nights campfire with the assorted drippings of the barbeque’s mixed grill and even the s’mores.
The taste is smoky deliciously deep.

This is one of those teas that make me want to expand and expound like Walter Pater did in his study of the Renaissance period. He wrote: “A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to seen in them by the finest senses? How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes any two persons, things, situations, seem alike.”

For me, this tea burns with Pater’s gemlike flame. It seems ancient and wise as if it had witnessed the lichen growing on the rocks and the mosses forming around the firs.

I do love smoky teas with a passion. I wish that Andrews and Dunham would maintain a constant collection of teas. If they always sold Caravan and Jackee Muntz I would be relaxed and happy and not need to constantly roam, with a hungry heart, looking for the next great Smoky Tea.
Preparation
4 min, 30 sec

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I really love big, bold, brash teas. Smokiness enthralls me. I don’t seem to do subtle.
I don’t do rooibos.

My rating system:
0-30:
Never again in a hundred million years

31-55: This tea probably has some redeeming qualities but I won’t would not seek it out again.

56-70:
Shows some promise but also has a fundamental flaw. I probably owe these a second taste but am unmotivated.

71-80:
Good with at least one strong quality; I probably would not buy it but would drink it cheerfully.

81-90: Worthy contenders; they might be ranked 100 on somebody’s else’s scale. I like them a lot but have not fallen in love. Will probably buy and use.

91-95: These are the true loves, the chosen ones, the ones I dream about and crave. Unless they are in a limited edition—la! how you tease me!—I will always keep in my cupboard.

96-100: I cannot be separated from these teas and would develop a panic attack if I were to run out.

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“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.”

Elderly dowager. Quintessential cat lady.

Tea which must be in stock always:

Black Dragon LS by Upton Teas: My choice every morning.

Florence & Lapsang Souchong by Harney & Sons

a good Gen Maicha

Samovar: Russian Blend, Maiden’s Ecstasy, Ryokucha

Mariage Frères: Confucious, Vivaldi, Eros, Aida, Marco Polo

American Tea Room: Brioche

Leland Teas: Bogart

Life in Teacup:
An Xi Tie Guan Yin Grade II modern green style & also Charcoal Style

Location

In the midst of the middle of the heart of nowhere in particular.

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