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Just a stone’s throw away from getting this blend right for this winter and I managed to toss together a composition that is too good…
Harumph.
I don’t want to screw around with it any more to make it smokier and astringent – it’s got great balance of flavor, aroma, and body. But it really isn’t what I would call a breakfast blend without the astringency needed to cut through milk.

Felt I ought to post this anyway since the four teas I’m drinking right now in this blend are all very tasty, all from the same company, and really nice in a 1:2:2:3 ratio.
From Tillerman Tea -
House Keemun
Yunnan Black Gold Reserve
Yixing Gongfu Black
Lapsang Souchong
Brewed with 4g in 111ml water shortly off a boil for 3 minutes this makes for a rich, smooth, silky mouthfeel and produces a flavor reminiscent of ripe stone fruits, lychee, malt, bran, and some spun sugar riding atop a bunch of bittersweet chocolate pave. Sumptuous and sweet. Sort of a crisp pasta- or rice-like sweet aftertaste.
Oddly, despite all the dry fragrances of these teas being lightly toasty, fruited, and exhibiting degrees of cocoa, the fragrance of the blend is unmistakable bacon. Can’t blame the Lapsang, either – the Tillerman Tea Lapsang is a very lightly smoked one and is much more on the fruit side. Fortunately, the aroma doesn’t convey this, though it is still savory.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to substitute an Assam for the lovely Yixing Hong Cha… Such a delicious tea (and a little heart-wrenching blending it) but I need a slap-in-the-face tea base, not a hearty bear hug. Probably gonna go with a more assertive Keemun as well… A Tai Ji style perhaps? I enjoy working with this Lapsang too much to abandon it for a smokier one, but I’ll have to supplement it with another smoky element.

A shame jumping away from nice results, but that’s why I’m logging them here.
Better post a review for the Yixing Hong Cha soon.

If I stopped blending here, I’d have to bump my rating up by about 10 points. The Yixing and Lapsang reds are in the high 70’s on their own (if not higher) using my highly subjective scale.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Tea Geek.

My focus is on Chinese Wulongs and Pu’er but I’m all over the place. I tend to follow a seasonal progression of teas, following the freshness curve of greens through summer and rounding the cooler months out with toastier teas and Masala Chai.
With the exception of Masala Chai milk tea I’m a purist at heart. While I was originally snagged by Earl Grey with bergamot and make blends for gifts, I very rarely go for scented teas or herbals and can’t remember the last time I bought a tea that was blended. Pure tea is just more interesting to me than the product of mixing flavors. I do understand and appreciate their existence, though.

I upload some blends I make or special prep teas I nab under the company name “Green Raven Tea and Coffee” and the vast majority of these posts will be blends crafted to create flavors/characteristics not inherent in any one particular tea.
I’ve worked as a tea buyer for a smallish cafe and try to keep apprized of shifts in offerings even when not selecting for a business so I wind up sampling a ton of wholesale samples from a couple companies in particular but try to branch out to as many companies as I can find. Until Steepster integrates some form of comparative tasting feature, none of my cupping notes will make it onto my reviews unless wrapped up into something I feel compelled to drink multiple times on its own.



Since all the cool kids are doing it, here’s my big fat ratings scheme:

0-12…..Ugh, don’t wish on anyone
13-25….Bad, won’t touch again
26-37….Huh, not worth the effort
38-50….Meh, unremarkable
51-62….Okay, good tea
63-75….Tasty, really good tea
76-87….Yum, wonderful
88-100…Wow, really spectacular

There shouldn’t be many postings at all from me ranked 26-50 since unremarkable teas are unlikely to make me remark on ’em but to “earn” a score 37 or below I have to be disappointed to the point where others may ask for a refund or turn down offers even when free or offered as a gift (beyond stale).

I’ve got a ton of respect for anything rated 63 or higher.

For a tea to get 71 or more, it has to be pretty special and kinda blow my socks off.

The 90s are reserved for wonders that make me reevaluate my views of the world of tea as a whole.

Location

Santa Rosa, California, United States

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