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I had this tea for breakfast this morning, with cream and sugar, and was quite happy with it. The scent of the tea is strong out of the tin, but brewing it tends to produce a mellow blackberry taste — not tart, but more like the flavor and sweetness you’d get from a blackberry pie rather than a fresh blackberry. The sage is a really lovely addition to the blackberry flavor. I don’t get a strong black tea flavor — and that’s just as well, since it turns out I don’t really like most black teas.

In the past, I’ve experimented with a range of brewing times — everything from swirling the bag until the water takes on color (say 1 1/2 minutes) to letting the bag steep until I’m done cooking breakfast (at least 8 minutes, probably more). It definitely gets bitter with longer steep times; I think a good steep time for a stronger flavor without the bitterness is probably around 3-4 minutes. I try to keep it to that time if I’m adding anything like honey, cream, or sugar. If I’m drinking it straight, I keep it to 2 minutes. I’ve also tried this tea iced, and I enjoy it that way.

I’ll probably continue to stock this tea for a long time, because it’s a comfort tea — perfect for me on my groggy, slow mornings or when I just need to curl up in bed with a book during a rainy day. Like most comfort foods, it might not be the best quality or have the most robust, complex, delicate flavors — but sometimes you just need a reliable, homey stand-by.

Preparation
Boiling

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When I was a child, my mother used to make me tea: mainly herbal blends (chamomile, etc.) and flavored black teas (all fruit flavored). She also introduced me to Good Earth tea (Original Flavor). Occasionally, we’d also drink jasmine tea. We’d add a spoon full of honey to our tea and drink it together.

When I first tasted a plain non-herbal, non-flavored tea, I thought it was the grossest thing I’d ever tasted. It was horribly bitter, tannic, and I almost spat it out.

Later, someone introduced me to an artfully brewed oolong tea — which was nothing at all like the bitter, tannic vileness I’d drank several years earlier. This was… Light. Delicate. Amazing!

Since then, I’ve been trying out different teas here and there, and experimenting with brewing techniques as best I can. I still have a weakness for herbal blends and fruit flavored teas — and a cup of Good Earth is always welcome — but I’ve been spending more time drinking whites, greens, and oolongs.

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