85

Decided to try the last of this sample back to back with the LIT Keemun Black Tea Grade II.

Wow, glad I did this! Extremely interesting. They are very similar in some ways, very different in others.

There’s no initial sharpness with this one. The smokiness is different. I’d say the LIT has a little bit more, but the real difference isn’t in the amount so much as in the way the flavor works in the tea. In the H&S, it is more part and parcel of the tea itself if that makes sense. Whereas in the LIT, it seems a more separate flavor. I don’t really prefer one to the other, but I find the difference fascinating.

I think the LIT is a bit brisker. They have a similar flavor aspect that I’ll call the “woodiness” piece, but I’d say the H&S leans more toward fruity notes and the LIT more toward bready notes. Though they both have some of each.

I now understand part of my ambivalence on my earlier tasting of this. It had to do with how I was thinking about it. I was thinking about it compared to other things advertised as breakfast teas, most of which are breakfast blends of several teas, and are therefore somewhat fuller and (to use a word I have on my brain from an earlier use) stouter. In truth, for me anyway, English Breakfast is a little bit of a misnomer here. I’m drinking this in the afternoon and enjoying it quite a bit. I probably wouldn’t choose it as a breakfast tea. I’d most likely drink an Earl Grey or a blend. But (eureka) if I don’t have to pit this against other breakfast offerings, how I look at it changes entirely.

I can’t really say I strongly prefer this to the LIT. This has an edge, but they’re each charming in their own ways.

Now I really need to stop drinking black tea or I’ll never get to sleep tonight. ;-)

ashmanra

I didn’t like this one the first time I tried it, back when I was a baby tea drinker and didn’t know the difference between smoky and astringent! It grew on me over time, and now I really like it. When I wake up sore or frumpled (yes, I just made that up but it fit!), I need something like this or Queen Catherine to get me going. They are smooth, i.e., there is no astringency, but strong enough to get me going with a touch of smokiness. I haven’t had the LIT you mentioned. Sounds good!

__Morgana__

I love “frumpled”! It’s so descriptive. I know exactly what you mean. I feel that way a lot. LOL.

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ashmanra

I didn’t like this one the first time I tried it, back when I was a baby tea drinker and didn’t know the difference between smoky and astringent! It grew on me over time, and now I really like it. When I wake up sore or frumpled (yes, I just made that up but it fit!), I need something like this or Queen Catherine to get me going. They are smooth, i.e., there is no astringency, but strong enough to get me going with a touch of smokiness. I haven’t had the LIT you mentioned. Sounds good!

__Morgana__

I love “frumpled”! It’s so descriptive. I know exactly what you mean. I feel that way a lot. LOL.

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Bio

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.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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