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This one is one that I selected specifically, as an alternative to the lapsang Angel was initially going to send me.

Dry leaf smells very strong. I think I’d have to agree with the malty/grainy description on the current reviews. It’s hearty and almost a bit earthy. And maybe a little sour? Maybe not. But just sort of thick and hearty and warm, and hopefully the cure for my late last night ice cream induced headache this morning.

Brewed, I get a a very dark liquid. Perhaps I used too much leaf. I used my bamboo spoon from Teavana. First sips, unadulterated, I got the same malty and grainy notes, with maybe slight smoke, or something that had a sharp taste to it. I could not really pick up any caramel. I had to sweeten it, and of course add milk. With it sweetened, I picked up a sort of raisin like note, though perhaps that was more caramel…but it tasted like raisin to me.

I’m not as in love with this tea as I was hoping, but perhaps I wasn’t as diligent on the preparation and used too much leaf or let it steep too long, or perhaps my headache has got the best of me and I just can’t judge this properly. I’m about to re-steep though.

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I generally like a lot of tea. I do find I have a preference for flavored over unflavoured, but I do love a good straight tea as well.

Likes are too hard, since there are a lot. Dislikes are easier, so here they are.

Hibiscus. Blech. I can tolerate a little, depending on the brew, like Berry Good from Davids and Ruby Pie from Butiki…but in general, it’s too tart and too strong for me.

Licorice. Anything that remotely resembles licorice is out too, so that includes fennel and anise. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Florals. I’m cool with petals in the tea to make them look pretty, and I’m cool with teas like oolongs having a floral note, but strong florals can give me migraines. Rose and jasmine are the biggest offenders. This is one where it can vary on the blend, as I can handle Teavivre’s Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea because there is very little jasmine actually detectable in it.

Rooibos is hit or miss. I can do some, but not others. I handle green better than red, and honeybush better than rooibos.

Um, I have an extensive wishlist. It is both a list of things I want to get again, and things I want to try. If you are sending me something, and you want to know which is which, I’ll tell you via PM.

My ratings don’t have a particular scale or method, and may on occasion contradict themselves, but I’m honestly not fussed about that. Sometimes I don’t even rate at all.

Uh, guess that’s it.

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Victoria, BC

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