Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this tea!
This is a wonderful black tea. It has a very pleasant sweetness that reminds me of raw sugar cane. This tea needn’t be sweetened – it is so wonderfully sweet just the way it is.
With my first couple of sips, I noticed a similarity to an Oolong with the soft mouthfeel and the smoothness in flavor, as well as a hint of vegetative flavor that hits right before the finish, and I thought maybe my mind was playing tricks on me because I had recently tasted another Tao of Tea black and found it to be also quite similar to an Oolong in some respects. But then I read AmazonV’s review of this tea and saw that she too had noticed the Oolong similarities, so I guess maybe my mind is not playing tricks after all. The malty tones to this tea play to the soft mouthfeel very well, giving it a pleasant thickness but without the strong, hefty kind of note that you might find in, say, an Assam black.
It is very smooth, but there is a certain rustic edge to it too. There is a moderate amount of astringency, and a hint of savory bitterness (almost like bitter chocolate) toward mid-sip that I think is almost essential given the sweetness of this tea. I taste a note of fruit about mid-sip as well. The information about this tea on the website suggests a cherry flavor, and I kind of get that, but this isn’t one of those syrupy sweet kinds of cherry flavor (this is not cough syrup cherry), but more of a insinuation of cherry that doesn’t quite become fully recognized.
An excellent black tea, even if it isn’t quite as strong as the name might suggest.