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145 °F / 62 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Chocolate Mint by Harney & Sons
336 tasting notes

Chocolate and mint is probably my favorite flavor combo ever. I normally have a chocolate mint black tea hanging around, but I finished my last one up. I have peppermint and spearmint, but apparently no chocolate tea, not even mixed in with other flavors. So I picked this up. I like this decently well, but it’s a but subtle compared to what I usually go for with these two flavors. I want the chocolate mint to be just all up in your face, but I do recognize that this tea is good, if not quite to my own preferences

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Decided to try this since I figured it would be a whole different type of tea than what I’ve been drinking.

First thing I notice is how dark the liquid on their website is for a 2015 raw; I laughed to myself: https://www.harney.com/products/tiger-pu-erh-2015?variant=29501940038

Anyways, this is clearly a smokey puerh. The notes of meat lingers around in an odd way that might be good later on. Right now that smoke is at 70% of what it could be so maybe it has faded. Curious to see if it ends up like some of the Mengku stuff after a good five years of sitting around, I doubt Harney will sell out so I will come back to it one day :)

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drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
633 tasting notes

Long time no tea! Short update: We’ve bought our first house and I’m pregnant with our second child! Now ON TO THE TEA!

The aroma is cinnamon and red rooibos. I’m not a fan of rooibos, but this was a free sample so…

The flavor is fairly inoffensive. It’s naturally sweet and slightly spicy. Not a winner for my palate but probably is very enjoyable to others. It’s not very strong. No pumpkin to speak of. I’ll drink this cup but I wouldn’t try it again.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Rooibos

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

Congrats on both the house and the pregnancy! Seems like lots of good things are happening, except for this tea I suppose :)


Congratulations, CHAroma!




Wow and yay!


WOOOHOOO!!! Congrats!!

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Dark green and brown leaves, somewhat wrinkled and torn with red brown bits of stems about 2 cm long. Subtle earthy, black coffeeish smell from the wet leaves – steeps to a medium brown color.

The cafe described it very simply as “a Taiwanese, nutty, tea”
Its definitely Oolong, but I found my particular cup to be much more plum. Toasty, but plum. It has a slow dry woody start, but a sweet bright finish. A likable tea, especially as a compliment to something sweet (I had it with a dark chocolate kissed vanilla bean bun).

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Plums, Toasty, Wood

4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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French Blue Lavender. Sounds good right? Bright green seed shaped buds, tipped with soft purple and cream petals. While it didn’t steep to the bright purple I expected – It’s got a pleasing scent: bright, clean, and floral – like perfume.

First impression: this stuff is pretty & POWERFUL. The cup I had was rather pungent, invading my sinuses with it’s too soapy touch. But the flavor under the salt & soap seemed light and pleasant – like sage with more sweetness. The soapiness spoiled it for me – I’m told it makes a good latte though.

To be fair, the cafe I went to serves 2-3 table spoons to 1 large carryout cup.
Depending on the barista: It can get a lot of steep time waiting on the counter, so I can’t vouch for what the actual flavor profile of this tea might be. If you feel like braving a cup, I’d try half the steep time and maybe 1/3 of the leaves recommended. Thinning it out with more hot water didn’t help much much in my case.

Flavors: Floral, Lavender, Perfume, Sage, Salty, Soap, Sweet

5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Organic Assam by Harney & Sons
118 tasting notes

I had a sample sachet tea bag of this Organic Assam. It has a pleasant aroma and an earthy taste. It is a good cup of tea if you are looking for an Assam.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Got a cup of this at a B&N Starbucks yesterday. I’d never ordered any tins of it, because the description sounded so much like H&S Bangkok, I didn’t see the point. But actually, the two flavors taste quite different.

It turns out there is a lot of vanilla in this tea. It overwhelms the coconut and ginger flavors to the point that I’m not sure they are there at all, whereas in Bangkok, ginger is the strongest note.

Of course it’s always a little dicey judging tea by the way it’s served at Starbucks, because the steeping instructions go out the window, but my impression is that this is pleasant, but I didn’t love it. So much vanilla seems a little odd with green tea. It went down nicely with my pumpkin muffin, but in the long run, I much prefer a vanilla black.


I think they actually are the same. Several of their teas are renamed in loose leaf vs sachet form.


Vanilla Comoro loose is waaaaaay more vanilla than the bags!


Haha, what a way to confuse their customers

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drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
152 tasting notes

Thanks to SuperStarling! for this tea sample. You are the best (tea) friend ever.

I am brewing this up after a quick morning trip to a local farmers market. We needed to stock up on some essential groceries (bread, milk, fruit, ect). And I did that. But then, on my way out, I saw these huge potted mums of all colors. Big triumphant bastards. Like, they come up to my waste (I"m 5’9" so that is semi impressive. For the flowers, not me) and are wide enough to hide a small child or two toddlers. I bought 4 of them. I like them. My wife loves them. She’ll squeal with delight. Win win.

Back to this tea. This smells nice kind of like a vanilla cupcake. The package says to brew it for 4-5 minutes. Whoa there black tea. I’ve been burned enough times to know that when you creep into the 4 minute territory, you’re gonna have a bad time. Bitterness comes out to play and that isn’t fun for anyone. So I let it go for about 3:30 as a compromise.

Well, I probably could have let it go 4 minutes. As is, it is a nice vanilla black tea with no hint of astringency or bitterness. The vanilla plays in nicely. The mouthfeel is a little thin but it doesn’t really take away from the tea. And it could also have been my fault for not listening to directions. Either way, this is a really nicely done vanilla black tea. It is something one could sip on and not have to think about it too much.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cake, Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Super Starling!

I’m a Black Tea Spaz. I totally throw it in my gravity steeper and forget all about it until 5-10 minutes later. Usually this doesn’t seem to bite me in the ass. I’m not sure why not. Perhaps I’m #blessed.


I get really sad when my teas go bitter. I’ve had it happen far too often with blacks and greens so now I’m super on top of steep times.

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A rich, deep, robust straight black tea mix with a hint of honey (allegedly, I can’t really taste it).

This tea is like a classic, clean-cut soldier about to go into WWII. A Captain America sort. Saying goodbye to his mom. Looking crisp in his uniform. Ready for bravery.

It’s just a good pick.

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I’m continuing to clean out the backlog with this one. Just two more to go after I finish this review. It seems that I always drag my feet when it comes to reviewing tisanes. Anyway, I found this one to be pretty solid.

I prepared this tisane using a one step Western infusion. I steeped one sachet in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, there were no additional infusions.

After infusion, I noted a delightful aroma that was equal parts minty and lemony. In the mouth, I noted a pleasant mixture of lemon and peppermint underpinned by traces of straw and cream. The finish was smooth, offering a lingering balance of lemon and peppermint notes.

After reading the above, it should be pretty obvious that I enjoyed this one. So, why a rating of 78? Why not go higher? Well, I did not really see this as being the kind of tisane I would want to reach for on a regular basis. I really like peppermint and I really like lemon verbena, but I think I like them better separately. While this is a respectable herbal blend, it is the sort of thing that just doesn’t hold as much appeal for me. I would rather have straight peppermint or lemon verbena. Still, I think this is good for what it is.

Flavors: Cream, Lemon, Peppermint, Straw

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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AAAAAAH DAMMIT THIS TEA IS DECAF. I was sipping it, thinking my day was okay, when I glanced at Harney & Son’s webpage to look at the ingredients/description for this tea. DECAF? … DECAF?!?!? WHY EVEN EXIST?

But seriously this is a pretty good tea. It tastes like Crasins, mostly. It’s got a sort of (maybe slightly artificial) berry stuff going on, with some floral notes. I actually think my god-daughter (3 years old) would LOVE this. I’m not allowed to feed her caffeine (bah! no fun!), but I could share this with her. I should let her do a guest post on here sometime. It’d just be a bunch of key-smash and inarticulate garble.

Oh crap, that’s what these reviews are mostly anyway.


Naw, I love reading your posts :) Always entertaining!




You totally downmarked this after you read about the caffeine content, dint you

Super Starling!

I read about the caffeine content first, then gave it a 70 about halfway through the cup. I downgraded it about half an hour later when I finished the cup. It got weird at room temperature.

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This is a lovely decaf tea that I often drink when I want something with a little more body and sweetness in the evening. (Honeybush and rooibos are all well and good for nighttime tea-drinking, but sometimes you just want a black tea). This has all the usual features of a black tea: it can brew up strong or bitter if left oversteeped, has a full mouthfeel with rich, dark tanins. The real treat of this blend is the lovely vanilla flavor: sweet, smooth, creamy vanilla bean aroma and taste. I take my tea black, so the vanilla is more present in the smell of the dry teabags, but when mixed with milk, the brew becomes even creamier. Traditional and sweet, it’s a favorite for a reason. Not to mention the adorable tin and the sleek pyramid teabags.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cream, Tannin, Vanilla

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I’m still plowing through the accumulation of samples from my recent purchases. For some reason, the folks at Harney & Sons always seem to send me samples of herbal teas when I order from them. Unfortunately, I don’t tend to drink too many herbal teas these days, so they tend to sit around for awhile.

I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion. I steeped 1 sachet (again, I’m guessing that there is around a teaspoon inside) in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, I did not attempt additional infusions.

After infusion, the liquor showed a dark amber in the cup. I detected fairly balanced aromas of spices and rooibos. In the mouth, I immediately noted a contest between the toasty, malty, herbal notes of rooibos and the intense spicy notes of cinnamon and clove. The aftertaste was both spicy and medicinal, with muddled traces of herbal, toasty rooibos on the back of the throat.

First things first-I tend to absolutely hate chai. I simply cannot stand it. Understand that this tea was going to be a tough sell for me from the start. Second, I really don’t like the layering of flavors here. The rooibos and the spices seem to fight one another, creating a muddiness in the mouth that is really unpleasant. Of course, I have also yet to mention the aftertaste, which was medicinal, as well as a bit bitter and harsh. I have no clue what the teamaker was thinking with this one. I’ll definitely avoid it in the future.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Herbs, Malt, Medicinal, Spicy, Toast

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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First impressions a little damped by the tea bits that escaped my infuser. This is a broken-leaf tea, so probably best in a sachet or fine mesh infuser. Lesson learned.

It was fine without cream or sugar, though a bit more bitter than finer whites I have tried. The added flavors are nice, though — delicate but not hidden — and suit the white tea flavor nicely.

I happened to like it better with sugar, and surprisingly, even better with cream. Yet there’s still a somewhat astringent aftertaste. I would say it’s nice but not perfect. Probably worth trying a weaker brew next time. (I brew everything stronger than recommended, but for some reason I brewed this especially strong today.)

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
11 tasting notes

I reviewed this tea on my YouTube channel over the weekend as it was a request from a fellow subscriber. I was told that this tea is very popular among the Harney and Sons brand and I had to give it a whirl. I was very pleasantly surprised when I did the blind tasting. I normally brew my teas at only 3 minutes instead of 5 to make it less bitter for me and I found the sweet spot for this one! No bitterness detected, but a smooth vanilla finish with notes of citrus and bergamot lingering on my tongue afterwards. I will definitely keep this one around and make it one of my to-go black teas.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Chamomile by Harney & Sons
151 tasting notes

This is another of the samples that I have been working my way through for the past week. I got what was supposed to be 1 sachet of this as a free sample with a Harney & Sons order a couple months ago, but upon opening the packet, I realized that 2 sachets of chamomile had been mistakenly packed inside. Rather than having one glass of chamomile tea before going to bed last night, I ended up having two.

I prepared this tisane using a one step Western infusion. I steeped each of the silken sachets (I’m guessing there was around 1-1.5 teaspoons in each) in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. No subsequent infusions were attempted.

After infusion, I noted that the aroma of chamomile flowers was very strong. I also picked up on scents of dust, cotton, straw, and green apple. In the mouth, I noted a wash of straw, chamomile, dust, cotton, and green apple with a lingering floral, fruity aftertaste.

Chamomile teas are always hit or miss for me. Sometimes I really enjoy them, other times I really cannot stand them. This one did not thrill me in the least. I found the aroma and flavor too dusty and drying for my tastes. I can see why some people may enjoy it, though I highly doubt I will ever willingly revisit it.

Flavors: Dust, Floral, Green Apple, Straw

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

DT’s Organic Egyptian Chamomile tastes just like honey, it’s really nice! Maybe you would like that one; it’s lighter on the dustiness/straw-like notes so less abrasive than other chamomile tea’s I’ve had. It’s more sweet and floral, and primarily tastes like honey.


Mookit, I have read good things about the DT Chamomile. I’ll probably look into trying it at some point.

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drank Tilleul by Harney & Sons
151 tasting notes

It’s been a long time since I have actually posted a full review for a tisane, so I figured I should probably get around to doing one. I have been trying to cut down on my caffeine intake lately, and with my sinuses once again draining like crazy, I wanted something that would both help me sleep and soothe my aching throat. This was what I selected for the purposes outlined above. Though this eased the scratchiness in my throat and helped me sleep, I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience of drinking this stuff.

I prepared this in an extremely lazy fashion. Rather than carefully measuring the amount of linden I was using, I just used whatever felt right at the time. I managed to go through the better part of an ounce of this stuff in just under a week. I found that what worked best for me was to put as much of the leaf, stem, and flower material as possible in a large brew basket and steep it for 5 minutes in 8 ounces of 212 F water. The flavor of this stuff is very weak, so I found that I got more out of it when I used more per cup.

After infusion, the liquor showed a pale yellow in the cup. Very mild aromas take some time to express themselves on the nose. They were very hard to describe. They were kind of floral, but also kind of woodsy. I thought there was a straw-like scent there too. Honestly, the smell is pretty nice, which is a shock because as soon as the leaves come into contact with water, they emit a smell very reminiscent of fresh cat urine. So, with that in mind, I was expecting the scent of the infused liquor to be much more unpleasant. In the mouth, I noticed fleeting impressions of wood, dried flowers, grass, and straw underscored by subtle hints of cream and fresh pastries. The finish was very clipped and mild. I noticed traces of floral and straw-like flavors.

Normally, I rather enjoy wacky tisanes, but this one was not all that appealing to me. For what I was using it for, it worked, but I doubt I would purchase it again. I kind of feel that one would have to be really into some of the quirkier and/or more challenging herbal teas to really appreciate something like this.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Grass, Pastries, Straw, Wood

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown (178)

So this tea tasted like weed to me. Don’t ask how I know what weed tastes like but I was instantly confused when I took a sip of this. In fact, I was so convinced that I must be wrong, I made my sister try it and she definitely felt the same. It reminded me of the time my sister brought a travel toothpaste on a trip with us and I told her it tasted like pickles and she looked at me like I was crazy only for me to later hear a giant OMG from the bathroom when she realized I was right.

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So, I gotta say that I did not just stick with the Organic Assam this morning. Everyone needs a glass of tea right before they jump in their car to go to work, right? Okay, all jokes aside, I really just wanted to go ahead and finish the sample of this so I could write about it before the end of the day.

I used my usual preparation for this tea. I steeped the sachet (I guess it was about a teaspoon) in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions.

After infusion, the liquor showed a delicate, slightly cloudy amber in the cup. The cinnamon aroma really hit me hard out of the gate, but there was other stuff there too. I thought I noted hints of toast, cream, cocoa, and orange peel. I did not pick up on the cloves. In the mouth, this tea was all about the spice. The cinnamon and clove notes really packed a wallop on the entry. Around mid-palate though, the spice notes softened and allowed flavors of cream, malt, toast, cocoa, and orange peel to peek through the murk. By the time the liquor slid down my throat, I was beginning to realize that while the spiciness remained, I was able to get a feel for the extremely light, smooth tea that capably served as a springboard for the spices and orange peel.

This tea did not provide the most refined drinking experience in the world, but it was very good. Keep in mind that assertion is coming from someone who is ambivalent toward cinnamon. This tea was clearly designed to be all about the cinnamon and it did a great job of showcasing the cinnamon aroma and flavor while displaying enough tea character to still be identifiable as tea. The additions of orange peel and clove were also not distracting in the slightest, as they complimented both the cinnamon and the tea base wonderfully. In essence, I found this to be a fun and surprisingly good little blend.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Orange, Toast

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Until last night, I had forgotten just how many samples of tea from Harney & Sons I had lying around the house. I knew that I had several, I just didn’t realize how many. I also somehow acquired more samples of this tea than any other. I made it my breakfast tea this morning.

I brewed this tea in sachet form. Again, I’m guessing that there was about one teaspoon of tea in there. I brewed this tea for 5 minutes in 8 ounces of 212 F water. I did not attempt additional infusions.

After infusion, the liquor showed a relatively dark amber in the cup. It was neither as dark nor as murky as some Assam teas I have tried in the past. On the nose, I picked up pleasant aromas of cream, roasted nuts, malt, leather, caramel, toffee, and molasses. In the mouth, I noted delicate notes of cream, roasted nuts, toast, leather, caramel, toffee, molasses, malt, and cocoa. The finish seemed to emphasize toast, cream, roasted nut, and caramel notes, though I also noted a slight astringency that became pronounced on the back of the throat.

I’m kind of surprised, but I really liked this Assam more than expected. It is a very basic tea, but it is also not nearly as harsh as some of the other Assam teas I have tried. For me, Assam is one of those things that I really enjoy, but I have to be in the mood for it. Sometimes it’s a little sharp and sometimes it’s a little bland. This tea falls between those two extremes. I found it very approachable.

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Roasted nuts, Toast, Toffee

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
151 tasting notes

Following the cleaning out of my sample hoard and the reorganization of my tea cabinets, I set about going through some of the many samples that I have accumulated in recent months. I ended up with a free sample of this tea in an order from Harney and Sons a couple months back, but was not all that excited to try it since I ended up with a tea bag rather than a sachet, and boy do I ever loathe tea bags.

I prepared this tea by steeping the bag (I’m guessing there was about a teaspoon in there) in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. That’s all there was to that. Naturally, I did not attempt additional infusions.

In the cup, the infused liquor was a surprisingly light, clear amber. On the nose, I picked up delicate scents of caramel, cream, vanilla, black currant, and bergamot. In the mouth, I mostly just detected notes of caramel, cream, vanilla, black currant, and bergamot. I also got a mild toastiness, but that was about it. I could only imagine how much more robust, complex, and lively this tea would have been in loose leaf or sachet form.

As far as bagged teas go, this could have been a lot worse. I did not get the usual grittiness or pronounced astringency I get from bagged teas. I could still tell, however, that this was likely a big step down from the other formats in which this tea is offered. I know that several individuals whose reviews I read fairly regularly and whose taste I trust are big on this tea, so I can’t wait to try this in a form that is more appealing to me. Until then, I can only say that this is semi-decent for a bagged tea, though I highly doubt I would try this tea in this form again.

Flavors: Bergamot, Black Currant, Caramel, Cream, Toast, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cathy Baratheon

The loose leaf version of this is excellent, however.

S.G. Sanders

I have almost a pound of the loose leaf if you wanted to try some. PM if you’d be interested. :)


Interesting. I have tried this only bagged and loved it (I don’t usually love bagged teas) so I wonder how much more I will like it loose!

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So, I cleaned out a couple of my tea cabinets over the weekend and I made a pile of samples that I had either purchased or received free with various orders over the last 5-6 months. Yeah, I worked on finally cleaning out the hoard. Right now, I’m trying to work through 3-4 samples a day. I worked through two this morning prior to going to work. This was the second of the two and the one I liked best.

To prepare this tea, I steeped approximately 1 teaspoon of tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions. Again, I normally do not do so with flavored, small leaf, and/or non-Chinese black teas unless specifically recommended by the vendor or I just get curious and want to experiment a bit.

The infused liquor showed a dark amber in the cup. The nose was heavy on the bergamot, though I could also pick up traces of caramel, toast, and malt. In the mouth, the tea veered between delicate notes of cream, malt, honey, toast, caramel, and cocoa and heavy, tart notes of bergamot. The finish really emphasized the bergamot flavor.

In the end, all I can say about this tea is that this one is specifically intended for fans of Earl Grey. If you don’t at least kind of appreciate the Earl, then I highly doubt you will like this tea. It isn’t particularly deep or complex or refined. It is brash and forceful, offering a bergamot presence that one will likely love or loathe. Personally, I love Earl Grey. Harney & Sons tend to do this type of tea justice, and I feel that this is probably one of their best and most consistent takes on the style. I especially appreciate how this tea allows the bergamot to come through loud and clear. If you, like me, are an extreme Earl Grey lover, check this one out when you get the chance.

Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Malt, Tart, Toast

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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