Mark T. Wendell

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Recent Tasting Notes

84

It’s been ages since I’ve had a breakfast blend! I’m relatively familiar with the English Breakfast, less so with the Irish Breakfast, which out of the two I prefer because it’s a little stronger and a little heartier. Scottish Breakfast, however, is new to me, so I’ve been curious about it for some time. It’s the completionist in me. Getting the British Isles rounded of, sort of. (I wonder if there’s a Welsh Breakfast out there somewhere too…?)

Hesper June shared this one with me and her parcel arrived at the same time as a parcel from Auggy did. Lately I’ve taken to keeping unposted about teas on my desk, and I had just got it almost cleared from the TeaSpring order when this happened! Since Auggy in particular went completely ballistic and shared a whole tea shop with me, it seems like, the desk is now littered with tiny tins and I have my work cut out for me here. It makes it very difficult to work out where to start! O.O Exploring the selection a little, however, I found this and thought, ‘Gosh! How ideal!’

I still haven’t got any new Roy Kirkham (I’m working on it) pots, so I found the really rubbish tea-for-one pot in the back of the cupboard and resigned myself to the fact that this pot requires pouring over the sink, while trying not to despair too much about the waste.

Now, according to Hesper June this is a blend of Indian, Ceylon and China teas, which made me sigh, because really, how hard is it to be specific? I get that they don’t want to reveal too much of their secret recipe, but I just want to know which regions we’re dealing with. There are HUGE differences between regions in India alone. But then again, I expect the average consumer doesn’t really care about that level of detail, and likely it wouldn’t mean that much to most of them anyway.

Guess the ingredient it is, then.

Well, from the aroma alone I’m already suspecting the first one and the flavour strengthens that suspicion. I think there must be Darjeeling in here. It has that grassy, spicy aroma and the same sort of grassy flavour to it, along with a certain mineralness. I don’t think it’s very much, though. I can’t find it on every sip, but in the aroma, especially while I was pouring it, it seemed very clear.

Then there’s something quite sweet in the aroma as well. There is the Darjeeling note, in a sort of fleeting way, at the top followed immediately by something floral, and underneath all that is the sweet bit. It smells not like caramel but sort of along those lines. A bit malty and quite heavy too, as if the weight of it made it sink below those other notes. It doesn’t show up so much in the flavour as such, but it stands out in the aftertaste, again as a caramel-esque note. It rather enhances the impression that it’s heavier than the other notes and that I might reach it better when I get closer to the bottom of the cup. I have absolutely nothing to base this on, but get a strong impression that this note is from the Ceylon element.

Now finally, I mentioned a floral note, and here I think we have our China participant. Keemun, I think, which accounts to the malty element of what I imagine to be the Ceylon note and that floral note. You know how Keemuns, dependent on quality and leaf grade, can have either a pseudo-smoky top note or a floral one, or even sometimes both, yes? I tend to prefer the smoky one over the others. The floral element here, however, reminds me strongly of the way a floral Keemun tastes, so I think that’s what it must be.

So Keemun and Darjeeling to give it character, Ceylon to give it body, I think. I can’t really region-guess on the Ceylon, I’m far too inexperienced with that area to do that. I’m puzzled, though, as to why I can’t find any Assam in here. I thought Assam was pretty much a breakfast blend given. Of course me not being able to find it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Me being able to find something doesn’t even mean that it is there.

Now, I don’t much care for Darjeeling at all, so when I first smelled that in the aroma my initial reaction was to be a bit wary, but as it turns out there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of here. Yes, it has the Darjeeling notes that I don’t like, but they are not on their own. In a blend, they get spaced out a bit and complemented by the other ingredients. This way, I find it much more tolerable, so I’m beginning to think my dislike of pure Darjeeling is simply due to an overload of these particular notes. It seems to be going down just fine in a blend.

Daniel Scott

Love this breakdown! I’m always curious to read about what other people have found to be common to certain regions. I’d love to feel like I could pick them out; but I’m sure that I cannot, so I tend to avoid straight tea blends like the plague. I feel like I need far more experience with single types. The one Keemun I have tried indeed had floral notes!

Angrboda

It’s something that comes with experience, I think. I didn’t sit down and learn it, really. It all started with, ‘hey this reminds me of…’ and then I started wondering why it gave me those associations. (But yes, it does help to familiarise oneself with various regions first)

Hesper June

This tea had me slightly puzzled as well.
I just was expecting something of a more hearty nature.
But,was met with this tea,which I thought tasted more like a afternoon blend.
Very good review,you are much more experienced at tasting than I.

Angrboda

Perhaps it’s a breakfast blend for A type people? :p

Hesper June

Perhaps :-)

Auggy

Interesting breakdown! And it is surprising to have a breakfast blend with no Assam. I thought that was standard!

Also, yes, I might have been a wee bit enthusiastic. But I had been holding on to some teas specifically to send to you but I knew I was going to wait until after my LPdT and ATR orders… so you got bits of those, too. I was a bit surprised when I saw how many ended up in the pile, though. I had more new(ish) tea than I thought!

Angrboda

I know! It’s totally puzzling me. And it’s not like there’s anything else equally strong in there instead either. And yet somehow it still worked, although I would agree with Hesper June that it felt more like an afternoon blend.

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85

I can’t believe that I haven’t reviewed this tea yet. For me it was one of those sleepers. I bought it and tried it many times, but only realized how much I loved it when I ran out. At the time I was abroad and could not get any more until I returned several months later. Bummer!

It is a brisk tea as others have noted, but since I don’t use milk in tea it is still not too brisk for my taste. It has a wonderful taste/aroma that I can’t really find words for, perhaps floraly woody? All I know is I treasure it and love it as a break from my more often drunk teas. I do tend to steep it around 4 minutes to keep it from getting too brisk.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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83

This tea is excellent with milk as well as plain, I’ve discovered today. I keep expecting this tea to be more smokey-tasting than it is because the scent is full-on BBQ à la lapsang souchong. Luckily the other teas in this blend seem to dampen it down a little.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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83

I’ve had this tea in my cupboard for so long that I’ve forgotten where it came from. It must have been from a trade as I don’t recall ever buying from Mark T Wendell.

I really enjoyed this blend, it’s a great afternoon tea that’s light and smooth enough to be drunk without milk, but is still full of flavour. It’s not nearly as smokey as, say, a lapsang souchong, instead being more like a light Russian Caravan. It’s more than just a one note tea as well, there’s a fruity sweetness that blends nicely with the smoke and gives the tea more body and character.

Thank to whoever sent me this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91

I’m always happy to see new teas from Mark T. Wendell. Hartley is one-cool-dude!

This smells like a greener-type-black/darjeeling with crispy notes!

The taste is a little like cracked pepper and green veggies with hints of fruitiness trying to hide underneath along with a few floral notes as it tries to cool at room temp for 2 or 3 minutes.

This is a really good Darjeeling. The end-sip hints at toast – I really like that!

Hesper June

Cracked Pepper? Green Veggies? Yum-o!!!

ScottTeaMan

Bliss, I really enjoy Darjeelings…… ALOT!! Most of my reviews for teas that I like are as descriptive as need be when describing a tea. I try to do that, and inject something interesting, so they are not boring for me or you or any other steepie who cares to read them. With that said, they do tend to be long sometimes! :))

I like your reviews, but for some reason I don’t always see them in my notices. Yours are interesting and short compared to mine. I just think it’s interesting and fun to see how reviews can be so different, entertaining, & fun here on Steepster.

My comment is starting to read like one of my lengthy reviews. :))

TeaEqualsBliss

Thanks Scott! Some are long – some are short – I try to mix it up quite a bit. A few of mine today will be pretty long winded tho! I think I already did 2 or 3 that way :) I have LOTS more to write and review today…so…time will tell with those :)

Thanks for the kind words! Your reviews are interesting and awesome as well!

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84

Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this.

Not bad, it tastes like … well … it tastes like Guayusa. No big surprises here, but it is invigorating and that’s what I need. Vegetal, but also rich and earthy, reminding me a bit more like a thinned coffee today – more so than usual. Who needs coffee when we have Guayusa?

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92

Just tried it iced and it’s very good!

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92

It’s not a bad green tea, and it smells flavored, but there is no noticeable flavor of pomegranate once you actually brew it.

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96

Ahh. Sharp attack with intense fruit overtones. Evolves into a medium bodied, full mouthfeel. Leaves sugary astringency and a long finish. Smells floral. Exquisite.

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

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89
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

I pretty much wanted to try this tea once I saw their ancient-looking packaging. Look at that canister-it look a hundred years old! I only hoped the tea was new.

The bad thing about Wendell is their shipping is comparatively high (for tea merchants) and (as far as I can tell) you have to buy 4 ounces of most everything. However, I really enjoy Lapsang, and with all the good reviews, I figured there was little chance that I wouldn’t like this tea. The good thing about Wendell is that their 4 ounce teas come in their own tins-no looking for a tin and struggling to remove the scent of the previous tea-you are ready to go. The tins have their lids attached on back hinges and are filled to the brim so be careful not to spill any. And to be fair about the shipping, the tins are probably a little more expensive to ship than a pouch.

The dry leaves are medium in length, very tightly rolled, and mostly chocolate brown with some mahogany brown mixed in. I’ve gone into sensory overload comparing the dry leaf aroma of this to my other Lapsangs, so descriptors fail me now, but suffice to say it is unique compared to the others. It’s smoky of course, but spicy too, and I’ll leave it at that for now. Liquor is copper-colored and very clear.

Flavor is smoky and mild. Slightly sweet. Very smooth. It tastes like a Lapsang, but slightly different. Perhaps that is the Formosan base instead of a Chinese tea base? Perhaps they have a better technique of smoking their leaves. Maybe both. No matter, it’s delicious. Almost makes me long for 90 degree days-when I enjoy Lapsang the most. I have 6 Lapsangs in my house right now. 5 of them are one ounce or less, so Hu Kwa will be around long after I have finished the others-and I kinda like that.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

I think this is Al Pacino’s favorite tea…….HUU KWAAAAA!

TeaBrat

ScottB – what’s your favorite lapsang so far?

Scott B

Amy-I think I am leaning towards Al Pacino’s tea being my favorite,but Teavivre is strong too. I think I need to have a Lapsang contest to see for sure.

ScottTeaMan

Scent Of A Lapsang :))

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87
drank Indonesian by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

Ok, I got 3 orders of tea in yesterday and I felt so overwhelmed over which tea to try first I felt like Imelda Marcos trying to pick out a pair of shoes.

So, I punted and chose this as my first tea today. I’ve developed a lot of affection for this tea since I first reviewed it about 2 months ago. It’s kinda Assam-like which is good for first thing in the morning. Malty and tannic, but not bitter or astringent. I feel there are some notes of nondescript spices in the tea-as if there were spices growing near the tea garden. Somewhat robust, but not too strong. It’s full leaf which means it’s higher quality and not insane on the caffeine. It appears to be an estate tea so I usually get 2 steeps out of it. Other than that, it’s nothing fancy, but it’s reliable. This is my “first cup” tea more than any other. Upping the rating.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

You know you need just one more tea… or 50. :-P

Scott B

I think I’ve given up the fantasy that one more tea or one more order is all I need. I could stop drinking tea tomorrow if I wanted to-right.

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87
drank Indonesian by Mark T. Wendell
109 tasting notes

Did you ever think you’d get buried under an avalanche of tea?

It seemed that might happen yesterday as package after package arrived. My dog was wearing her nose out smelling all the interesting boxes. When the torrent subsided the boxes were between knee and waist high and I was ready to brew.

This was my first order from Mark T Wendell. The only Indonesian tea I’ve ever had before was in TG’s disappointing English Breakfast blend, so it was nice to see an Indonesian tea get a chance to stand on its own.

I’m not sure if this is an estate tea or not. The web site says it’s from Kertasarie Estate but the label on the tin says it’s a blend. Do estates ever make their own blends from different teas?

Anyhow, the dry leaves are short, twisted and fairly uniform in size. Their color is very dark brown with a few medium brown specks in there. Dry aroma is pleasant and subdued, with maybe a touch maltiness and a hint of orange citrus.

Brewed aroma is more malty with maybe that orange citrus note. Can you smell tannins? I swear I smell tannins. Liquor is nice and coppery.

Taste is good, if a little generic and nondescript. A little malty, but that orange citrus note doesn’t seem to have made it. Somewhat robust, but no bitterness. I think this could be a decent breakfast tea. I will brew this a little longer next time and see if I can coax a bit more flavor out of it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Scott B

Yes, their web site says it’s from the estate. But the label on my tin says “A blend of exquisite teas from the island of Indonesia..”. I am just unfamiliar with estates making their own blends-perhaps they do.

ScottTeaMan

I m still pretty sure it’s single estate b/c other websites have it listed as such. Where on the tin does it say it is a blend? I saw no notice of it on their website.

TeaBrat

Buried under an avalanche of tea, sounds like the story of my life. Ooh – I hope you got the Victorian Afternoon blend. :)

Scott B

Scott-The quote I included is from a label on the back of their 4 oz. tin. The description of it is sounds like it was written a very long time ago. Maybe at that time it wasn’t an estate tea.

Amy-I’m starting to think that what I am doing here is just living in a tea shop or something. Alas, I must have missed the Victorian Afternoon blend. Is it similar to Harney’s Queen Catherine?

TeaBrat

Scott – the victorian afternoon is a Lapsang blend, I quite like it.

ScottTeaMan

Here’s to living in & being buried in…….TEA! If it wasn’t so delicious, I’d probably bathe in it.

Scott B

“This vibrant blend of Indian, Sri Lankan and Formosan teas is further complemented by a slightly smoky character” Sounds very interesting.

Scott B

Scott-People have been known to drink their bath water!

ScottTeaMan

That sounds thirst quenching!

Scott B

gives a whole new meaning to the Nestea plunge

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83

I like this tea overall.
It’s nose is not untypical of the ‘breakfast blends’.
However what surprised me was how it tasted.
For some reason I was expecting something fairly strong maybe even hearty.
But, what I found was that it’s like a English Breakfast’s shy little brother.
It is very smooth and almost a bit of brightness?? (sorry I am new at this)
I like it, but I have been letting it brew a smidge longer as well as making my measuring spoon slightly heaping when I make it and have been happier with the results.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Bright is in fact a term used to describe tea so good job! :)

Hesper June

Whew! Good, glad to hear it:)

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82

Backlog: I started my day with a cup of this. Very energizing, and I love the delicious spiced tone – not what I’d call hot or spicy, but, just warm and tasty.

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89

Tea of the afternoon…… (SRP #27)

This is my first yellow tea! It comes from my foodzie box from LiberTEAS.

Brewing parameters for this are very similar to green teas. Leaves are long, and bright yellow-green, and somewhat curled inward toward the center spine. I used about 170 water for three minutes. I am amazed how much this reminds me of Long Jing. I think similar to Long Jing but not nearly as vegetal. It has the buttery mouth feel, but not super heavy buttery like some oolongs. I can drink this one without adding sweetener which is a bonus.

Very lovey and enjoyable. Just what I needed was another kind of tea that I need to buy!

Mug method with 170 water for 2 minutes. No additions.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Nice – I was curious about this one also. Sounds tempting!

SimplyJenW

It is like green tea with no astringency. Dang…another type of tea to obsess about….looking at TeaSpring’s offerings….

TeaBrat

ha – I had one from Upton which I did not care for so much..

SimplyJenW

Second steep is good, too.

I did just order a yellow tea from Harney. I also needed some Decaf Paris!

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86

Tea of the morning. As I was sorting through my stash today I realized how few straight black teas I have on hand, which is really goofy because I drink those more often than any other kind. I guess there’s a reason why I need to restock them fairly regularly.

This tea is a blend of black tea and formosa oolong, I am enjoying it this morning especially since the formosa gives it a nice, peachy note. I find if you steep this with boiling water it can get kind of overly bitter/tannic so it’s best to use water below the boil.

Here’s a pic of my new teapot, I swear I am already in love with this thing. I am definitely going to use it in a painting someday. It holds about 10 oz. of tea. I am running out of excuses to get more yixing since I already have four! But this is definitely the largest one I own…

http://instagram.com/p/ulUqwrILWk/

Mikumofu

That’s an adorable teapot!

TeaBrat

Thank you… I am happy with it :)

Tealizzy

So cute!!!

caile

That is a cute pot!

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86

Ugh… I definitely overdid it on the caffeine yesterday because I couldn’t fall asleep until 2 am and then had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. I had to start the morning off with a coffee and now I’m drinking this brew, which I haven’t had for a long time.

Mark T. Wendell has some very solid teas, especially black teas. I’m surprised they aren’t more popular on Steepster. I was thinking about ordering some of their assam recently, but there’s so many places for me to buy tea in San Francisco it seems a bit ridiculous to have it shipped all the way from Massachusetts unless I’m ordering a bunch of stuff.

Anyway, this is a blend of black teas with formosa oolong, and that gives it a lighter and more fruity taste. This is a good afternoon tea, or a lighter morning tea. I find it very flavorful. This morning I am getting lovely malty notes. I shouldn’t be neglecting this so much, it’s really a delightful cuppa. I’d get this again if I place another order with MTW.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

one of the reasons i dont get their teas is huge amount, no samples and expensive shipping. Sad, otherwise I would.

TeaBrat

It would be nice if all tea companies offered samples!

boychik

Agree. I wanted to order a tea fr them. $24 and $8 ship. Why? Also when they have sale in July on 1lb only. It’s probably for someone who drinks 1-2 teas and has to restock once a year.

Anlina

Sample sizes and reasonable shipping are always what make or break it for me.

TeaBrat

maybe we should band together and write them a letter? In other news I think the dashboard is stuck" again as I haven’t seen any new notes for 7 hours.

Skulleigh

Same here. One of my one notes from last night isn’t even showing up on the dashboard though it’s in my tasting notes :(

Nightshifter

Dashboard still frozen. One the bright side, this note has been at the top for 20 hours or so. :P

Dustin

Might be worth contacting them and seeing if they have anyone local to you who carries their line.

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86

This is an interesting tea I haven’t been drinking too much of lately. It has such a light base and it was really meant to be more of an afternoon/evening tea according to the company. I’ve been trying to drink my black teas in the morning and drink lighter things after noon. I find it is good with additions or without, it doesn’t really NEED them. Might be good with a squeeze of lemon also since it has a bit of a citrus-y note. I should really try this one iced to see if I like it that way.

Still feeling under the weather but need to find the energy today to do my homework for writing class – wish me luck!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
TheTeaFairy

Good luck :-)

TeaBrat

Thanks, I am an expert on goofing off. :-P

TheTeaFairy

Oh, that’s an expertise of mine as well ;-)

Veronica

Good luck!

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86

Tea of the morning here, a nice standard black which is meant to be an afternoon tea, but is also good for the morning.

I also did a new blog post about tea and painting at the Zen Center if anyone wants to read it:
http://sanfrantea.teatra.de/2012/10/09/sumi-e-at-the-san-francisco-zen-center/

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86

Tea of the morning! Designed to be an afternoon tea but still quite good in the morning. See previous notes.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!!!

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86

Mark T. Wendell claims this is a good after dinner tea but I’m trying it now anyway because I’m a rebel! No really!

This is a blend of Formosa, Ceylon and India tea (most likely Assam). I steeped my tea in a glass mug for 5 minutes. I still like glass for tea tasting and would have a glass teapot if I wasn’t so absolutely sure I would break it (I’m also a klutz)

I’m taking this tea sans additions today. The wet leaf smells slightly floral and earthy. I think perhaps the floral note is coming from the Ceylon. I’m not sure what kind of black tea comes from Formosa (now Taiwan) aside from the Sun Moon Lake Tea type variety. The Assam I think is lending a slightly malty and pungent flavor here. I do think this is a very enjoyable blend, although I’m not thinking there is anything overly unique or exceptional about it. May not repurchase this one but I will certainly finish off what I have. It’s also enjoyable with a splash of soymilk (or regular milk, if you prefer. :))

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Scott- lol. I think I prefer this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U16Xg_rQZkA

ScottTeaMan

YES!!.LOL…….That’s the song i was trying to think of. :)) I had actually never heard the GD song before, but the Bowie son, that’s the song I wanted.

narwhalclub

TOTAL REBEL. I’ll confess, I’ve never actually had any of this after dinner either (black tea=too much caffeine for that time o’ day), but I did have a pot after lunch today and it was yummy. I really like this one with a bit of lemon. I like almost all black teas with lemon though, so take what you will from that. I’d agree that there probable isn’t anything overly special about this blend, but it’s one of the first black blends I ever tried and liked a lot, so it will always have a nook in the corner of my heart.

TeaBrat

@narwhal I will try the lemon, thanks!

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93

Despite the name, this is a nice morning tea for me today. I love the heft that this blend has, with the smoke providing a bit of heft to the mix. It’s surprisingly good with soymilk added. I’m rarely in the mood for a smoky tea but this is a tasty choice when the craving arises…

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93

This is a great tea for the afternoon if you’re up for something smoky and stimulating. I am trying to write a blog post and then do my homework for copy editing class, so I needed a good kick in the you-know-where!

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93

This is a great tea for the afternoon, especially when brunch involved drinking wine… hee hee.

I still like this one but it is a lapsang blend. Smoky, especially in the aroma but with a sweet aftertaste and very dark. I have a sensitive stomach and I’m not picking up on much bitterness at all. Nice for a pick me up, indeed but not for the faint of heart. See previous notes for more info.

ScottTeaMan

Can I safely assume that Hu Kwa is better than this one??

TeaBrat

They are different…

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