This is probably one of the best smelling teas I have owned, aside from my Shinchas/Gyokuro (because nothing beats a fresh green). Cinnamon and spices in cider by the fireplace come to mind.

The base is black tea, but it’s absolutely packed with spices, cloves, large bits of citrus peel etc. and it shows through in the end result. It still tastes like tea, but both the taste and the smell strongly reflect that warm cinnamon spiciness. The smooth tea flavor is good, but stays in the background as a base. One could probably write pages dissecting all the flavor notes and the order in which they manifest… but that would miss the point. This blend isn’t about the parts, but about the picture they paint. I’d have liked to see more Lapsang smokiness to go with the feel, but that would be too polarizing for most customers. I will have to blend this with some actual Lapsang and report back.

Be it on a cold winter’s night, or upon getting into the office after standing on a freezing BART station platform at an ungodly early hour, this is the tea equivalent of “Winter Warmer” type beers. Highly recommended if you can find it, at any time it’s cold out, or you just need some comfort tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Her Highness Rozen Maiden No.5, Shinku, is my tea-soulmate.

I am a tea nerd. I only brew looseleaf, I keep an instant read thermometer with my stash and never, ever brew a cup without getting the water temperature I want first. I can’t stop buying teas that capture my heart, even if I have more than I could ever finish before they go stale – though I do my best to keep delicate ones sealed until I’m ready to dig in.

I rate things on a different scale than I think most people do. For me, 50 is not a bad grade, 50 is take it or leave it, I probably wouldn’t turn it down but I wouldn’t ask for it. 50 is indifference, sub-50 is dislike.

Also, I live near Lupicia SF, and can get there and back in the span of my lunch break. I’m jealous of myself.

I like just about everything, but my true loves are shincha, gyokuro, pu-erh, and lapsang souchong. Grass clippings, dirt, and campfires, mmm mm.

What I won’t touch is blasphemous grossness like candy-flavored rooibos, fruit-and-vanilla white teas, etc. – don’t even get me started.


SF Bay Area

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