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Hi guys. I know I continue to be scarce. It sucks, as I miss you. All I can say is yay for cooler weather! I’m actually cold in the house today, and craving tea for the first time in a while. And what exactly am I craving? Talk about 0 to 60 in 4 seconds… I go from being “meh” about tea to wanting something dark, smoky and as intense as possible.

I have been eyeing this one for a while, I just have, as I’ve said, been knocked off my singlemindedness as far as tea is concerned, and each time I try to stage a comeback it turns out to be too halfhearted to last. As it starts to get colder, I’m holding out more hope.

The first thing I noticed about this one is that it appears to have fluffed in volume between the time I opened the inner cellophane to the time I tried to close the tin. I don’t know whether this is how you’re supposed to do it or not, but with Kusmis I open up the inner cellophane packet, pour the leaves into the tin, and discard the cellophane. This is the first time the tea grew in volume so much that I couldn’t get the tin closed. It was slightly better after spooning some tea into the Breville, but I think it will take a few more servings before it isn’t a bear to close.

It has, as expected, an intensely smoky fragrance in the tin, heavier on the ash and lighter on the salty meat than some others I’ve tried. The liquor is lighter than I expected, a sort of dark honey color. The smoke mellows in the aroma; there’s some malty sweetness lurking under the lightly smoky overlay.

Now for the taste. Hmmm… I am a little disappointed, but I think there is user error here. I have to wonder whether I need to beef up the amount of leaf some (that could be why the liquor is lighter than expected) because it tastes a little faded to me. Almost watery. Kusmi teas are subtle, but in my experience so far that has never translated to watery. I must be rusty in my tea-making skills.

Despite the wateriness, it’s entirely not horrible. It has the smoke, which I was craving, but it doesn’t have the tar/pine/resin thickness of some lapsangs. Nor does it have much in the way of bacon, beef jerky, or other salted meat. I hesitate to conclude this without further experimentation, but my preliminary assessment is it’s a sort of lapsang lite.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

I pour it into the tin like that too, but that’s not as much a question of what I think I’m supposed to do as it’s a question can’t be bothered with the stupid cellophane. :) The reason I have tins is so I won’t have to bother with that sort of impractical bag.

__Morgana__

I hear ya, Angrboda. Here I go dating myself, but I was never one of those people who just slit through the shrink wrap on the outside of their record albums and kept it on the album either….

Angrboda

Good lord, people did that? O.O

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Comments

Angrboda

I pour it into the tin like that too, but that’s not as much a question of what I think I’m supposed to do as it’s a question can’t be bothered with the stupid cellophane. :) The reason I have tins is so I won’t have to bother with that sort of impractical bag.

__Morgana__

I hear ya, Angrboda. Here I go dating myself, but I was never one of those people who just slit through the shrink wrap on the outside of their record albums and kept it on the album either….

Angrboda

Good lord, people did that? O.O

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Profile

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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