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.