Dry, this seems like a pretty unassuming tea — not surprising, since I tend to think of Ceylon as “normal” black tea. Steeping gets you a nice dark cup with a fairly strong smell, woodsy and almost smoky. I wasn’t expecting much based on the dry leaf, but this is getting exciting!
As I sip, I immediately notice that this isn’t the least bit subtle in flavor, which is, as usual, a plus in my book. Toasty is definitely a good way to describe it, and I think my earlier declaration of woodsy still applies. It’s somewhat astringent, more than I’m personally used to tasting, and almost sour. I’m not getting any of the sweet or berry-ish notes that others apparently are, and in fact it’s more bitter than I’d like.
Taking this one for a second steeping, I’m getting a similar albiet milder taste. The bitterness is mostly gone now, but it seems to have taken a lot of the tea’s character with it. This time I tried a pinch of artificial sweetener (I don’t have the recommended raw sugar and milk), but it seems to mellow out the flavor some more more than anything else. Not a bad cup, though; it reminds me a lot of Twinnings’ very basic ceylon.
A very nice choice if you’re a fan of strong, full-bodied black tea, especially if you might like to finish off with a milder second steep! I might choose this as a coffee substitute if I needed one, as while it doesn’t taste like coffee at all, it offers a similar experience. On a personal level, it’s not a favorite due to the bitter and woodlike qualities, but it’s lovely for what it is and I might consider getting it again if I wanted a more permanent ceylon in my stash.