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I wrote an unintentionally gigantic review for this tea over at the Tea Review Blog the other day.
http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=19324
I’ve been waiting to add it to Steepster, though- how to rate something so very different from what I normally drink? But then I realized that really didn’t matter in the slightest. More importantly, I want to share how awesome my experience with this Tulsi / Holy Basil was.

This stuff is delicious! I don’t know if this is a feature of Tulsi in general, or of this Tulsi in particular (a blend of Rama, Vana, and Krishna tulsis). Either way, I now feel like Tulsi is something everyone should have in their cupboards if they ever like adding things in with their tea. I haven’t been able to think of a tea with which this wouldn’t be lovely: black (Indian and Chinese, especially a Yunnan), greens, white, chai’s. shu pu’er, wuyi and roasted oolongs.. it’s like salt or cinnamon or honey- good with everything.

The only danger here is being tempted to really add it to everything you’re drinking. That’s great if you’re in a sick doldrums, but I certainly felt like I was slipping towards Tulsi over-load, at least in my at home blending. Who wants all of their teas to taste the same?

All of that said, I think this is a great thing to try on its own. For me, it doesn’t change at all over its many steepings, which means it’s a great flavor.. but it’s just a flavor. A beverage (yummy!) and not a drinking experience. Others will find this a huge plus for reliability, but that’s not really why I drink tea.

And what is that flavor? I really get into that on my other review, but here’s the skinny:
Aroma…. Spicy (like allspice or ground cardamom) with hefty doses of citrus. Complex, with a woody impression, like a chest that’s been storing orange rinds and baking spices..
Taste….. Strong citrus notes of orange, orange rind and lemon peel. Sparkling mint or spearmint. The citrus is mixed with melon (cantaloupe or honeydew) – mellow. Licorice and fennel. Cinnamon, peppercorns, allspice and clove.
There is also a cedar note that grows stronger in the middle of my tongue. When mixed with the citrus notes, there will be some who find this unappealing. The impression is not strong and moves away quickly for the other flavors.

Aftertaste…… Sweet aftertaste that coats my mouth. Bright citrus notes.. I feel cleansed and uplifted and settled. A minute or so after drinking, there is light feeling of vibration in my mouth, priming me for more drinking like an oolong. No dryness or any sense of bitterness.

The overall flavor is complete and unified. This Tulsi by itself is more interesting, commanding and balanced than many spa blends I’ve come across. It’s like a perfect blend, all in one leaf!

Tulsi- the oolong of herbals. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend it.

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I generally drink Chinese teas.

I love things that are interesting, that force me to stop and think about and enjoy what I’m experiencing. Even better are those teas you just have to drink with a friend so that the outpouring of tastes and memories find a sounding board in a trusted companion.

I’m into tea as an experience rather than just a thirst quenching beverage. I love to learn- there’s so much to learn about tea.

I also prefer my teas to be exceedingly delicious, if at all possible. Luckily, I have great tea friends and teachers that can hook me up with the good stuff.

Something I’ve noticed about my ratings:
I tend to use Steepster more like Yelp and less like Twitter. I’ll generally only review a tea once in its life (though that review and rating might be edited over time to reflect changes in my own understanding of it).
I do not generally log each tea I’m drinking as I drink, since that feels like a distraction- I’d rather just drink the tea!
I tend to only review teas I really love or that I really did not enjoy. If it falls somewhere in the middle of “meh” and “that was pretty good, I suppose,” then I won’t be compelled to sit down and spend time giving a nice, fleshed out review and rating.
As such, it might seem like I give out high scores willy-nilly. Instead, I’m doing my first round of rating mentally off-site, and presenting only the teas I really want to share with everyone.

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Richfield, MN

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