In her log, sophistre mentions that this is a bit of a Dawn taste-a-like, so I went into this cup thinking of my experience with Dawn which perhaps colors my perception a bit, but hey, it happens.
Smelling the dry leaves, there is a hint of cocoa. Not super-intense and a little more on the milk chocolate side of things than most cocoa-smelling teas but very nice. Once brewed, there is a bit of a rough, raw-ish smell that reminds me of a Nilgiri but not quite as raw or unpleasant. I suppose I could call this a slightly textured fresh note.
The taste is faintly cocoa-y on the front, a little rough and nicely solid. The idea of cocoa seems to hang around in my mouth after each sip and that’s kind of nice. The taste profile does remind me quite a bit of Dawn, as sophistre mentions, but less intense. Slurping the tea gives me a bit of smoke and a taste of something similar to burnt sugar and that is definitely very Dawn-like.
I’m not one of the ones looking for a Dawn replacement so I can’t say how nicely this would fill that hole but I find this tea quite enjoyable. It’s a little on the softer flavor intensity side of things which is something that I have been enjoying lately. But even though there are differences in intensity and smoothness, I would probably group this tea (lighter), Dawn (more intense) and my beloved Tan Yang from TeaSpring (smoother) in the same category.