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This is another of those ‘all-bran’-looking teas and, in the water, the strands really swelled and opened-out so that you could clearly see that they were twists.

I made a mug of this with a heaped teaspoon brewed for four minutes (the instructions were ‘for up to five minutes’). In the mug it was a clear, medium intensity, orange-brown brew without any aroma that I could detect – unless, perhaps, the tiniest hint of rust. Sipping it, I got an immediate hit of chocolate quickly followed by smooth butter and a bright hit of orange, but not much of the generic tea taste. So it was pleasant but a little unsatisfying.

So I brewed the next, a heaped teaspoon again, for a little over five minutes. There was a definite improvement. There were touches of sweet hay and orange to the aroma. The flavours of the last mug were there, but that immediate hit of chocolate was gone and the chocolate element was now more blended-in as one of the strands of the whole flavour. There was also a touch somewhere between sweet hay and cut grass, and, most satisfyingly, the generic tea flavour was more evident. Brewing for the extra minute or so did not give the slightest hint of staleness.

This was a really excellent mug of tea – complex and satisfying.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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Bio

Happily retired male.

Started exploring ‘proper’ tea in March, 2010 after decades of PG Tips teabags. I was initially looking for ‘the perfect tea’; now I don’t want to find one – I’m so much more enjoying exploring the variety.

A confession: I take my tea with four sweeteners to a half-pint mug.
28/05/2012 – I’ve decided to wean myself off the sweeteners, starting this morning, so, three per mug instead of four (I’m getting a growing feeling that I’m failing to get the best out of some of the oolongs and greens I try and I intend getting a gaiwan and the appropriate little cups, and sweeteners don’t seem to be appropriate, there). 16/02/2013 – since New Year’s Day I’ve only been using two sweeteners. I’m struggling to get used to it, to be honest – some teas are more difficult than others.

How I make tea: either in a traditional teapot which holds enough for three half-pint mugs and has a removable infuser (London Teapot Company); or in a half-pint mug with an Agatha’s Bester filter. Sometimes I vaguely think about getting some nice, genteel cups and saucers …

Important: I measure the tea with plastic kitchen measuring spoons – teaspoon and half-teaspoon sizes – so when I say a ‘heaped teaspoon’, as the correct measure is a levelled one, I should probably be calling it ‘two teaspoons’!

Location

Derbyshire/Staffordshire, UK.

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