This was another present from Doulton tucked into the box she sent me with my Dammann Freres order. Thanks, again, Doulton, for your generosity!

There is really one major fragrance to the dry leaves: smoke. There may be a tiny bit of citrus underneath but you really have to search for it. I’m wondering how this will work, given the overpowering nature of lapsang smoke. It seems ambitious to try to combine it with any other flavor.

The main ingredient in the tea’s aroma is also smoke. And in the taste, too. It’s got a lighter smoke than a full blown lapsang, more along the lines of a Russian smoky tea, but I am constrained to find any Earl Grey flavor under the smoke.

Trying a second time at 205 instead to see if that brings the bergamot out. It doesn’t so much in the aroma, but it helps in the flavor. There’s a definite citrus note combining with the smoke, and a mild tea flavor as well. It’s still balanced a little more toward the smoke than the citrus than I would choose, but it is flavorful and has depth. It’s the kind of thing I probably wouldn’t have on a daily basis but would be happy to enjoy every so often.

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Whoa… weird tea!

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Whoa… weird tea!

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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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