90

A sample from VariaTEA. I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time, although I’ve never really had the chance until now. I guess that’s why I’ve been saving my sample! I wanted to wait for a day when I’d have the time to enjoy it. Thankfully, it’s as good as I’d hoped. It smells sweet and nutty straight out of the packet, and this only intensifies as it brews. For a first go, I gave 1 tsp of leaves 3.5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. It tastes fabulous — absolutely like a fresh piece of brioche, or an almond croissaint! It’s bready and nutty (almond, mostly), with a hint of milky vanilla sweetness and cinnamon spice. The base is fabulously smooth, and its slight maltiness perfectly complements the bready, sweet notes of the flavouring. It’s one of those great flavoured blacks where it’s hard to tell exactly where the flavouring ends and the base begins. Many thanks to VariaTEA for sharing this one with me. I have enough for a couple more cups, but I’ll be hugely sad when this is gone!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norwich, UK

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