I got this tea in a bulk section of a shop in Berkeley almost a year ago, so I’m not sure how it compares to fresh and better stored samples of this tea. For some reason my brain is telling me I smell chocolate in both the dry and steeped tea. I can smell the rich vanilla, but why chocolate? Maybe the base is the same as a chocolate tea I have had so it is by association that I smell it? When I sip, it is smooth and vanilla like at first, but quickly turns to a burnt caramel taste… almost coffee with a tiny bit of bitter. I read Ysaurella’s notes about wanting to try steeping it at a lower time, so I only did 3 minutes at under boiling water. Considering that, I’m surprised there is any bitterness. Adding sugar knocks out the hint of bitter coffee and brings out a rich vanilla in the aftertaste. On the sip I taste the tea base, which is a nice one, but I don’t get vanilla until after I swallow. As it cools it gets sweeter and I taste the vanilla a little sooner. It is a very nice cup, but it is a little plain for my taste. I might try it cold brewed in the fridge before I totally give up on it tho. I have had some boring teas surprise me when cold brewed.