Ahh. Wednesday. A work from home day.

Which means my overflowing shipping boxes full of recent tea deliveries are surrounding and beckoning to me. Yes, that’s where I’m now reduced to collecting (I won’t say storing because that might mean it would become a permanent solution) my tea deliveries, one for each type from black to white. On second thought, beckoning is the wrong word. It sounds gentle and polite, or at least resistible.

But first, I must not ignore my crusade to drink up the bagged tea to make room for all the new stuff, lest the boxes indeed become permanent. The good news is that though there are still way too many, I’m finding that I’m running out of ones I haven’t written notes on.

This is one. The bag has a deep “black bagged tea” smell, a bit like the Numi pu erh bags but minus the leathery/earthy notes. It steeped to a dark brown. I used 2 bags in 14-16 or so oz of water which likely resulted in a darker liquor than would be typical.

The tea smells much nicer than the bag; it has something similar to that sweet, brown sugary/malty smell I detect in a lot of the black Samovar teas and that I just love.

The sweetness isn’t as apparent in the taste, unfortunately. There’s a tiny bit of sugar in the finish, and a full, malty flavor with some astringency. It seems better than many of the bagged blacks I’ve had. But it lacks the depth and smoothness of the loose blacks that are my frontrunners at the moment. I’d be afraid that steeping any longer than 3 minutes would turn the corner into bitterness.

I’ll finish this up and would choose it over other bagged blacks in a pinch, but there are better teas. I’m spoiled by Samovar and Mariage Freres and look forward to more spoilage as I work through the contents of my shipping boxes.

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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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