In the container, this has a recognizable and pronounced smell of bergamot, and something else that is… odd. It’s a sort of minerally, metallic smell that I haven’t noticed in tea before. I see a few cornflowers dotting the dark brown leaves.

The web site says the tea is from Sri Lanka, which is the only clue as to the type of tea base this is. It doesn’t have the color I’ve seen in most Ceylons, though. That reddish, russet color is only barely there. It brews lighter than other Ceylons I’ve had. The tea’s aroma strikes me as bakey on first sniff, like too much baking powder in the muffins. Not a good sign. As I sniff longer, I’m getting something else. Potato? At first I thought it was sweet potato, but it really isn’t. It’s the sharpish, earthy smell of raw potato. Oh, and some bergamot, too.

The flavor is strange as well. It’s got a mentholly feel to the after sip, which must be from the bergamot oil, and it tastes a little potato-y, with a tad of starchy sweetness at the finish. The feel of the tea is soft to the mouth. The metallic, minerally smell is consistent with the potato-y taste, at least for me. Raw potatoes smell like that to me. There is a citrus note, but it’s not strong.

It’s more Earl Grey-like than the Kusmi, but it’s such a strange flavor that I’m not sure what to make of it. From the fragrance of the dry leaves I wasn’t expecting to like this, and I’m not sure I do. I don’t have an active dislike for it, though. I’m going to give it a slightly higher rating than the Kusmi for being truer to the Earl Grey genre, but this is not likely to become a favorite.

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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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