After the Chocolate Puerh experience I thought I’d give the others a try. I’m starting with this one.

I’m rather a novice at wine-tasting but I always found it amusing when I read tasting notes for wines that describe them as having a “barnyard” or “leathery” nose or taste. And yet, that describes the smell of the bags. It’s peaty, loamy, and horsey, more on the poop side than the saddle side (though this last note is not so strong as to be unpleasant). The aroma of the steeped tea, though, reverses that and has a much more leathery scent to it along with the earthiness. The liquor is indistinguishable from black coffee.

I’d describe the flavor, too, as leathery. There’s a bit of smokiness to it as well, almost like what you find in Scotch, and an afterlingering sweetness I associate with breakfast blends containing Assam. The consistency is very similar to that of the Chocolate Puerh, smooth, slightly slick, and brothy. It’s thick, and gives the illusion of chewiness.

It will be interesting to taste for this next time I drink the Chocolate, as I imagine that under the lovely chocolate and spice additives to that tea, this is pretty much the unadulterated tea flavor. I’ve also ordered some samples of loose puehrs as I think I could become a fan.

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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