89

I’m not sure what sort of tea is in here, but unlike the English Breakfast version, this one appears to have Orthodox leaves. They’re mostly dark brown, with some silvery tips. There’s a rather amazing cocoa smell coming from inside the tin, which I’m hoping will show up in the flavor.

The steeped tea smells malty-sweet, with a dark cocoa note. The liquor is dark amber, sort of a light brandy color.

This is more like it. There’s a richness and a smoothness to the tea that was nowhere to be found in the English Breakfast. There’s also flavor. Quite a bit of it. It’s full bodied without being thick or particularly heavy. It definitely has some cocoa in the flavor. Not the candified chocolate of flavored teas, but a beany, planty cocoa note that arises organically out of the tea.

Pretty much everything that rubbed me the wrong way in the English Breakfast has been rectified here. This is a delicious tea. It might be even better steeped a little longer, but I think steeping at slightly under boiling was the right choice.

It does make me wonder whether there was a bit of national chauvinism here since the English Breakfast is basically a barbarian of a tea compared to this one. But far be it from me to incite an international incident. ;-)

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

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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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