It’s a random sample morning with Harney & Sons’ Organic Breakfast next in line. I’ll leave out the suspense and cut right to the chase; this is really quite dreadful. Bitter! It’s extremely bitter. This tea is devoid of meaningful flavor. It’s somewhat astringent. It has an unpleasant maltiness that just clogs up the throat. I’m having a very tough time drinking this one. It’s harsh on steroids. But at least the harshness is organic, right? Ehh ok. Life is short, time to brew up something else.
30 Tasting Notes
So, on a recent late autumn afternoon, I sat and enjoyed a pot of Verdant Tea’s Zhu Rong Yunnan Black. Next I bundled up, drove to the park, and went for a run before the early darkness hit. While listening to tunes and soaking in the last moments of daylight, there was only one thing going through my head: this tea! My brain was feeling both appreciative for the first pot, all the while screaming; “finish this run so you can get back and brew the 2nd infusion”. Faster!
If you love bittersweet dark chocolate, this is the tea for you. The dry leaf is sort of a mix between sweet potato and cocoa, while the wet produces a more woodsy-dark chocolate scent. The liquor’s bittersweet dark chocolate aroma is simply terrific. It’s not the sort of scent you get with some flavored chocolate teas that have a certain artificiality to them. It’s a genuinely immersing scent that hits you straight to the core. This medium bodied brew is silky rich upon sipping. The intensity of the flavor peaks near the back of the mouth and throat where a delicious bittersweet dark chocolate note hits and then lingers. I get a little malt near the end of the sip as well. This is just an incredibly smooth and satisfying tea to drink. When I finish a pot, I continue to yearn for more. This tea continues to be enjoyable on additional infusions. These later infusions exhibit a slightly lower dark chocolate intensity with some added peppery spice appearing mid-mouth.
Simply put, if you love bittersweet dark chocolate and you don’t try this tea, you are really missing out. Run.
Ok, I hate doing this. I really do. But here goes…
Opening a tin of this Earl Grey Choice by Zhi Tea can be best described as being totally steamrolled by lavender! Overwhelming lavender. I get nothing that would suggest an earl grey in the scent, no bergamot, nothing. Just lavender! Reading the list of ingredients on the tin, it does not mention any lavender at all. Odd, I would say. So I brew this tea, and surprise, surprise, the liquor has an extreme lavender smell as well. Upon sipping, I can barely muster the energy to send it down my throat. It tastes soapy. But, in truth, describing it as soap-like is way too kind. I would find difficulty serving this tea to my most villainous enemies. Just having it in my mouth, I almost want to gag. This is not earl grey. Frankly, I don’t know what sort of monster this is.
So, I emailed Zhi Tea and asked them if maybe I recieved the wrong tea, or if potentially it’s a bad batch. Let me first say, the customer service at Zhi Tea is top-notch. I was responded to quickly and politely. They get an ‘A’ for customer service. I was told that they use an organic bergamot oil in this tea that has a lavender-like scent. I was also told that I can leave the tin open to air-out and maybe it will help lower the lavender-like intensity.
Let me say this, as a frequent earl grey drinker, I love trying interesting and creative versions of earl grey. This is not an interesting or creative version. This is a mistake. Zhi Tea needs to go back and reassess this one. It’s very possible that I just got a bad batch of it, a batch with an unfathomable amount of this organic bergamot oil. I’ve had an otherwise positive experience drinking Zhi’s teas, but this one is simply undrinkable.
Should I believe the hype? After reading many great reviews for Verdant Tea, and particularly for their Laoshan Black, I succombed to the pressure and ordered. Their website is excellent, being both clean and very informative. In addition, my order came with a hand-written thank you note. Nice touch. On to the tea!
The dry leaf scent screams chocolate. It’s almost like putting your nose in a tin of powdered cocoa. The wet leaf is more grainy and muted. The scent of the liquor is a real star with an aroma not dissimilar to a creamy hot chocolate. Sipping this tea, I’m a little surprised. It’s not as chocolatey as the liquor scent would suggest. There is a grainy-malty taste that wraps around the cocoa. Verdant describes this taste as barley and I won’t argue. Taking a second sniff of the liquor, I now get plenty of this barley in the scent; it sneakily escaped my nose the first time around. The malty-barley and chocolate dance and vibe great together. Rich. After swallowing, I get malty notes in the middle of the tongue and the chocolate notes in the back of the mouth and throat. Interesting combination. If I have one slight personal criticism, I find the graininess of the tea does begin to get a little tiresome toward the end of the pot. It gives me flashes at times of a crafty/hopsy beer. A beer or two is ok, but too much can be a problem.
I enjoyed drinking a pot of this tea. But having said that, for me, it’s not an everyday tea. It doesn’t have quite the strength and vigor I look for in a morning tea. Additionally, it’s graininess makes it too rough for a dessert tea. It’s something in that nebulous, undefinable, and opaque middle, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Update: Over several weeks of drinking this tea, I have really come to like it much more than my original tasting. The graininess of the tea has become an acquired taste. I must up my rating. This is good stuff.
Thanksgiving morning. A sample of Zhi’s Keemun Mao Feng is on the menu. Will I be giving thanks for this organic Chinese black?
The dry leaf scent is getting me somewhat excited as I pick up dusty-earthiness mixed with both some mild cocoa-notes. I don’t get much from the wet leaf, just toastiness, but with the liquor, I notice some smoke in combination with sweet-earthiness. Onward. Tasting this tea, I’m disappointed. It’s somewhat flat. The flavors taste muted and washed-out. The sip has mild smoke, a heavy overall consistency, and some dull cocoa-notes. It feels overly dense and there is very noticeable astringency. Following the sip, there is definitely some strong astringent dryness near the front of the tongue and some slight bitterness near the back of the mouth. Troublesome.
Overall, I’m able to finish the pot. It’s drinkable, but not enjoyable. The astringency is really the deal breaker. It single-handedly kills the experience of this tea. Any positive aspects are totally overshadowed by it. While I can’t give much thanks for this keemun, I can give thanks that I have the good fortune to explore lots of interesting teas. On to the next!
I heart autumn. Cooler weather, colorful leaves, and chai! Chai tea and autumn are a harmonious pair. There is a warming nature to chai that helps counteract the colder weather and darker days. I love chai straight: no milk, no sweetener. American Tea Room’s Organic Masala Chai has been a favorite chai of mine this season.
Sticking my nose in the bag, you get a whole array of flavors typical with chai. But the one that pops the most is the ginger. This can be a little concerning. If the ginger is too spicy and strong, it can overwhelm the rest of the flavors. But rest assured, in both the wet leaf and liquor scents, the ginger mellows out and the cinnamon/vanilla/cardamom take a front seat. I love the sweet cinnamon scent of this chai’s liquor! It’s extremely enticing. Sipping this chai, it’s a tea in very good balance. The spices from the ginger are evened out nicely by the cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom. While it’s hard to judge the black tea base with all the surrounding flavors, it’s good to my taste. Following the sip, I get some spicy ginger lingering in the back of the mouth and some cinnamon sitting near the tip of the tongue.
A good chai needs to find an equilibrium amongst the collection of flavors. This tea succeeds in finding that delicious harmony.
I first tasted this tea on a trip to Portland, Or at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. While the tour of the garden was a bit of a bore, I can highly recommend the garden’s tea house. It’s an oasis for tea lovers! In said tea house, they offer up the best from The Tao of Tea. One of the tea’s I tried on that given day was Tippy South Cloud. I liked it then, and I still like it now.
Right of the bat, I can state this organic black yunnan is of very good quality. The dry leaf emits a dusty sweet potato-like scent, while the wet leaf exudes a very friendly earthiness. The liquor has a warmer sweetness to it’s smell as compared to the typical yunnan. Tasting this tea, it’s not overly strong, but is mildly dense. There is a pleasant sweetness throughout the sip. I can best describe the sweetness as caramel-like. It has absolutely none of the bitterness that can sometimes translate from a lesser quality yunnan. The relatively mild strength combined with the caramel-like sweetness balances out to a very satisfying overall sip.
While The Tao of Tea recommends on it’s tin to brew this at 185, I personally liked the results better brewing it at 200. It’s slightly stronger with the higher temperature, but it’s all a matter of taste.
If you happen to visit Portland, skip the line at Voodoo Doughnut, and instead go for a tea tasting at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. If you can’t make the trip, do the next best thing and order some of this tea.
Following hurricane Sandy and over a week without power, I was forced to camp out in a local Barnes and Noble on numerous occasions for two of life’s great necessities: hot tea and wifi. Harney supplies B&N with tea, and while consuming hours of free wifi, I had the opportunity to try some new teas. The one that lifted my spirits the most was Harney’s Holiday Tea. Days later, I was compelled to order a tin of said tea from Harney to celebrate the return of power!
Back in civilization, sitting with a hot pot brewed, I just love the wild mixture of scents from this blend. Each stage has differing smells: With the dry leaf, it’s orange-cinnamon that dominates, with the wet, it’s the toasty underlying black tea, and with the liquor, the flavors that hit my nose the hardest are the vanilla and almond. Sipping this, I get the spiced cinnamon and cloves early in the sip and at the front of the mouth. While the back half of this sip, the orange-almond-vanilla shows it’s face. A little bit of spice sits at the tip of the tongue and the back of the mouth after swallowing. It’s a very wild medley of flavors, but it finds a way to work. I can fully understand anyone who considers this blend to be over-the-top. Overall, I find this tea, fairly comforting and warming.
I’m one who usually does not care much for these sorts of wild blends; I’m more of a tea purist at heart. But this is one blend that I can enjoy. It’s not something that I could drink daily though. But, cuddled up with a good book, on a cold winter night, this tea finds a home. Oh, and it works well too in the midst of post-hurricane madness, ehh.
Chinese gong fu teas are known for being finely-crafted and have always been a personal favorite. My expectations for Zhi’s version of this tea, ‘Gong Fu Black’, were heightened after reading some strong reviews on steepster. Time to rip open a sample and test!
The dry leaf has a dusty-woodsy scent with a hint of cocoa. The cocoa-hint disappears in the wet leaf, but reappears in the liquor scent. The creamy-cocoa aroma arising from the liquor is quite inviting. Sipping this tea is just as the liquor scent predicts; a creamy black brew with strong cocoa hints. It’s rich, yet very smooth. After swallowing, the cocoa-notes sit politely in the back of the mouth leaving a satisfying overall sip. Enjoyable! If I can find any fault with this tea is that I sense a very miniscule amount of bitterness at the end of the sip. Most drinkers probably won’t even notice, and despite being present, it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. But, that’s me nitpicking at an otherwise fine tea.
While Zhi’s Gong Fu Black is not the best gong fu tea I’ve ever tasted, it’s very good gong fu nonetheless.
The description of this tea by Zhi Tea intrigued me enough that I was forced to order a sample. Forced! ‘Ancient Forest’ sounds so mysterious and mystical, doesn’t it? On top of that, this organic tea is from Vietnam; I can’t ever remember having a Vietnamese tea. The setup is for something truly exciting and magical.
Upon sticking my nose in the bag, the dry leaf reminds me right away of a keemun with a dark-forest-like scent and a hint of smoke. The wet leaf and liquor scents similarly don’t diverge much from a typical keemun. This rich amber brew tastes very average. It’s medium bodied, but unfortunately not all that flavorful. Some of the tastes that are typical with a keemun, seem a little washed out. I’ve brewed several small pots with differing tea to water ratios and have gotten the same results each time. The flavors are lacking. It doesn’t have much pop to it, and to be frank, is kind of a bore to drink. There is a slight caramel-note to it, but it’s slight. There is some astringency and the aftertaste leaves a peppery-note on the tip of the tongue. So much for the magic.
While this tea has a good story and comes from a unique locale, it is really just something middle-of-the-road. It’s drinkable, yet totally uninteresting and unmagical. And after the big build-up, I’m left feeling somewhat let-down.
So this is suppose to be Texas’s take on Irish Breakfast. Zhi Tea’s Austin Breakfast uses a Sri Lankan ceylon to get you out of bed and moving. Will this tea make Texas proud?
This dark brew is in fact very similar to a typical Irish breakfast. The dry leaf has a dark, weathered, assam-like scent, while the wet leaf transforms to being more toasty. I like the strong liquor scent that has a hint of sweetness buried underneath; It’s bold without being too intimidating. This ceylon is totally no-nonsense and no frills. It is sharp and in your face. Sipping this tea, you get hit with a full-bodied black from start to finish with almost no astringency. What makes this work is that there is little to no harshness to the tea. Many breakfast teas can be harsh leaving a somewhat unsatisfying sip and afterstate. This tea, while strong, remains relatively smooth throughout. There is a non-threatening intensity to it all.
I first recieved a sample of this tea as a gift and have since ordered a little more. It’s basic and to-the-point. If you prefer sweeter/flavored teas, stay far away from this one. If you like strong Irish breakfast tea, it’s worth giving this Texas-version of breakfast tea a shot.
This is, simply put, a really good earl grey.
Put your nose in a bag of American Tea Room’s Earl Grey Shanghai and you get a fresh, sweet, and naturally smelling bergamot scent. Not perfumey or artificial like many competitors, the scent is not all that dissimilar to a freshly-cut orange. It’s inviting. American Tea Room blends the bergamot with an organic Yunnan base. The Yunnan hides behind the bergamot when sniffing the wet leaf and liquor. But fear not…
Upon tasting, you instantly notice the delicious smoothness of this Yunnan. There is enough strength for a morning wake-up, but it never overpowers. The terrific balance between the Yunnan and bergamot can not be overstated. The tea revels with harmonious fluidity and incredible smoothness. It’s strong, yet gentle. Graceful.
This earl grey has become a staple in my tea stash. It’s an earl grey done right, joy!
Rishi’s Ancient Yellow Buds is light, airy bliss. The pale-green and yellow leaves look like they’ve been artfully crafted and loved for. Sticking your nose in the dry leaf, I sense a baked sweet potato meets spring-breeze fusion. The wet leaf is a toasty version of the dry. Nothing too exciting… thus far. But here comes the star of the show, the liquor.
The pale-yellow brew is deceivingly complex. The smell from the liquor is that of a honeysuckle/apple medley. A gentle and soft sweetness is present. An early spring day where life curiously comes out of hibernation. Upon sipping, the tea is comprised of floral and mild-apple notes. The mild-apple notes have a slightly sour tone, almost like the apple peel of a granny smith. This creates an interesting dynamic between floral spring elegance and an autumnal fruit. Very pleasant. Upon swallowing, a sweet honey-like taste lingers at the tip of the tongue and at the inner-edge of the lips. The slight-sour notes of the apple with the sweet honey-like aftertaste strikes a great, harmonious balance.
A very unique tea. Definitely worth trying.
Lying in a grassy field looking up at the sky. A strong majestic sun beats down. An occasional cloud interrupts. A brisk wind blows and the blades of grass dance to the music. Serenity. So is the experience sipping Harney and Sons’ Organic Sencha.
There is a pronounced buttery and sweet-grassy scent that emanates from the dry leaf. The wet leaf loses some of the butteriness, but it’s captured back by the liquor aroma. The light pale-green brew is buttery smooth. This tea is absolutely silky in the mouth. Very fragile and delicate is this sencha, be careful brewing. Vegetable-like in some respects. The taste is somewhat reminiscent of fresh peas. Airy. Relaxing. Pacifying. Pleasing.
This is flat out, really good sencha. Probably the best sencha I’ve had in recent memory. I’ve been tasting some relatively pricey greens from different companies out there and nothing quite compares. This organic green simply radiates peace and harmony.
Yuzu: rare outside Asia, citrusy, and in combination with sencha? I’m intrigued enough to buy a few ounces from Rishi and give this tea and yuzu a shot.
To start, the dry leaf scent is attention grabbing. It has a strong, spicy citrus smell. It’s an interesting spiciness that accompanies the citrus. The spiciness is peppery in nature and somewhat ginger-like. The wet leaf scent is a total 180. The wet is a toasty, slightly nutty green with a few citrus notes lingering. The liquor aroma combines the wet and dry for a toasty, mild-citrus blend. This tea brews to a somewhat cloudy, pale-green color.
My first reaction to sipping: refreshing! This is a very friendly combination. Surprisingly friendly. It has a tropical-feel. Hello summer. The yuzu is in excellent balance with the sencha. I can best describe the yuzu as lying somewhere between a sweet lemon and an orange. On continual sips, the yuzu taste even reminds me a bit of pineapple. Along with the yuzu, the sencha is very good and of high quality. The sencha is quite airy with a mild toastiness. There are some floral notes lying beneath the yuzu and sencha, but they are subtle and subdued. This tea is light-hearted. Fresh. Fun.
I have to say, after smelling the dry leaf, I was a little nervous. But having now gone through a pot, I can say this is quite enjoyable. I look forward to trying this tea iced when the warmer weather rolls around. This is one of the more interesting green tea blends. Yuzu yum!
After a string of disappointing tastings from Teavana, it’s time to try something that should be relatively easy: English breakfast. Blend a few fine black teas together and ensure they are energetic and tasty in combination. Easy right? Ehh, not so fast.
My first reaction to sipping this tea is: salty. Now, I know there is no salt in this, but that is what my tongue says. On continued sips, I refine that opinion and would rather say that there is a particular bitterness present. A wrongful bitterness. An unpleasant bitterness. A bitterness that derives from poor quality tea. This tea simply tastes old and of low quality. I have cheap tea-bag English breakfast sitting in the kitchen that is many times better than this. While I probably could finish the pot if forced, it’s not worth the stress and agony. Time to dump out the rest of this debacle by Teavana and brew up something else that is yummy.
If you want to start your day off right, avoid this bitter failure.
Winter is dead and gone. Spring is floating about. Teavivre’s Premium Dragonwell is glistening in the cup.
Chestnuts! This tea has a nutty flavor that most echoes chestnuts. The dry and wet leaf of this dragonwell exhibit a grassy-nuttiness. But in the liquor scent, the chestnuts come out to play. This is not a light and grassy green. This dragonwell is on the heavier side. The pronounced chestnut taste is prevalent throughout the sip. The aftertaste leaves a nutty flavor in the back of the throat and a slight astringency in the front of the mouth. The key to enjoying this tea is to not overbrew. Testing on multiple pots, when brewed for 2:00 and slightly longer at 175, the tea becomes overly heavy and dense. The nuttiness can overwhelm in such a brew. The sweet spot is to brew this right at 1:30 at 175 and not a second longer. Such a brew leaves this dragonwell lighter and in better overall balance.
This is an enjoyable green. It’s not the green that I will reach for daily. It’s one that needs to work in concert with the right mood and setting. Teavivre’s nutty dragon does well.
In the morning, I want an in-your-face, take-no-prisoners sort of black tea. I want it to rip the everlasting sleepiness out of me. I want something that barks. A loud, vicious bark. Caffeine is not the sole driver of this. Flavors, feelings, textures all play their part. A lively, energetic harmony. Enter stage: Rishi’s Golden Yunnan.
The dry leaf is dusty and earthy with some sweet notes. The wet leaf has a strong-muscular earthy tone. The liquor is less fragrant than the dry and wet to my nose. Sipping this tea is experiencing a certain polarity; a bold crispness and a sweet smoothness live in friendly coexistence. The bold elements play in the front of the mouth. After sipping, there are crisp peppery notes that dance on the tip of my tongue and the back of my lips. Awakening. Spirited. Sharp. The back of the mouth is a different story and experiences a nice smooth sweet flavor. A mild caramel note. The aftertaste in the back of the mouth is one of relaxation with little to no astringency. Softening. Balancing. Overall, it’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde, but it works.
This is one of my go-to morning black teas. It’s strong and biting enough to wake me up, but with enough smooth and sweet notes to not be overly bitter or jarring. This tea is the pit bull that exhibits an angry face and barks like mad. But once you get to know this scary canine, the mutt is really quite a softy. Don’t be shy, rub the belly of this pup.
Early morning, reaching for a random sample, how about… Notting Hill by American Tea Room. I’ve never been to the neighborhood and I recall being rather bored during the predictable Julia Roberts romantic romp. The name does little for me. Onward to the this yunnan/assam hybrid.
Dry leaf says yunnan. Wet leaf says assam. Liquor scent is a mix. The first half of the sip is all yunnan, nice sweet earthy goodness. Good yunnan, not great. The second half of the sip screams assam with its typical dry, malty taste. Average assam. The after-taste leaves a slightly sweet taste in the front of the mouth (yunnan) and a dry astringency in the back of the mouth toward the throat (assam). Overall, the tea is smooth, which is critical in such a blend. The more I drink this, the more I yearn for the sweet yunnan that’s at the forefront and less for dry assam in the back-half.
This blend does the job as a morning wake-me-up tea, but not too much beyond that. Rather average fare. A few bonus points for being organic. Not something I would run out to buy. Like a Julia Roberts film, this tea is pleasant, yet predictable.
Pi day. A complex day deserves a complex sort of tea. Keemun it is! I brew up some of Teavivre’s Premium Hao Ya and see if the math checks.
The dry leaf is woodsy and earthy with a slight cocoa note, typical of many keemuns. The scent of the wet leaf is not all that much different than the dry, but slightly more gentle. The liquor smell loses some of that nice earthiness and is of a far more smoky quality.
As I sip, I’m not intrigued. I’m not mystified. I’m not overly interested. This keemun would best be described as mild-flavored, with smoke. On the initial swallow, this tea is not particularly strong. There is a somewhat malty taste on the onset with a hint of sweetness. But, the aftertaste brings a stronger wave of smokiness that makes you forget the opening. The cocoa notes are relatively weak in this one, which is a disappointment. You can faintly taste the cocoa lingering, but it never dazzles and pops. Failure to reach potential. The depth in this tea is lacking.
Overall, the math is a little off. This keemun is an average offering: neither fascinating, nor drab. Intricately deep and complex like pi, this tea is not.
Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu Black is a storybook tea. Wrapping oneself around this tea evokes a wondrous childlike experience. Spending an afternoon with a pot creates a feeling of warmth and wonder where imagination takes an unyielding hold.
I flat out love the dry leaf smell of this tea. Stick your nose in the bag and a rich, woodsy-cocoa scent envelops. The wet leaf is toasty and earthy, while the liquor has stronger dry-cocoa notes. Sipping this elegantly smooth tea, one experiences toasty-cocoa bliss. This tea provokes you to daydream. Naturally sweet. Perfectly balanced. The aftertaste transitions from toasty-cocoa to a more creamy caramel. A slight degree of astringency with the caramel aftertaste creates great harmony. I smack my lips after a sip and a joyous sweetness remains. My tongue begs for more. Yum!
I found that with this tea you must be careful not to over-brew. I get the best results brewing for exactly 2:30, not a second longer. Brew too long and you fade the wonderful cocoa/caramel taste. Prepare a cup, close your eyes, and let your mind and taste buds wander this dreamy fairytale.
In my never-ending quest for a supremely-great earl grey, I’m brought to Rishi’s offering. Unfortunately, this rather pricey blend will prove to be no rainmaker.
Opening the bag, the bergamot scent is on the lemony-side and ample, without being too overpowering. Acceptable start. My issues don’t lie with with bergamot. Upon tasting, I’m surprised at this earl grey’s black tea base. Using a Keemun/Yunnan blend, the base is rather bitter with some late astringency. It’s a dry bitterness without any redeeming value. Lifeless, barren, and dare I say, possibly stale. The citrus flavor fails to cover up this dehydrating crime.
It feels like Rishi took a lesser quality black tea base, masked it with the bergamot, and decided to slap a ‘supreme’ on the name. After drinking a pot of this, I feel like I just camped out in the desert and my mouth is suffering from a drought. A tall glass of ice water and some rain would be nice.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple”. – Oscar Wilde
Harney and Sons’ Hao Ya ‘A’ is a complicated, beautiful beast. The dry leaf of this keemun has a strong musty scent with a very slight cocoa note. The wet leaf emits a more mellow, smoky smell. The scent is neither inviting nor offending. The strong, muscular scent does not necessarily translate to the taste. The brew is gentler with a dry-forest, earthy flavor. Woodsy. There is a profound dark toasty taste that intrigues. But the real stand out is the superb dark chocolate aftertaste. An exquisite dark chocolate that is finely bittersweet. The more I sip, the more I respect it. I’m loving this.
This is a thinker’s tea. Deep. Crafty. Quite possibly, menacing. I don’t see this as an everyday tea. This is a tea for a special occasion. An occasion where one wants to shake up life’s monotony. An occasion where one wants to question everything that is perceived as true.
Extreme. This tea is extreme. The vanilla is extreme. Your opinion will be extreme.
Sipping this tea was like drinking straight vanilla extract. Vanilla to the nth degree. Horrid! There is a reason people don’t pour themselves a cup of undiluted vanilla extract. I couldn’t manage to finish my cup and was forced to dump out the rest after only a few sips! This is something I rarely do when tasting. Even if a tea is disliked, I will show some measure of respect by finishing. But this blend: undrinkable. Oh, and the green tea base is not even worth discussing since it is beyond obliterated by the vanilla.
The only reason I’m not giving this tea a score closer to zero is that the person I shared this pot of ‘extreme’ with happened to love it. This totally bizarre individual finished off the rest of pot solo. I don’t understand it, other than to say; this is a tea you will either completely love or hate. There is no in-between. Personally, I detest it, extremely.