Per Aubrey at Arbor Teas:
“We are no longer sourcing our Assam from the Rembeng estate … because they are no longer Fair Trade Certified.”
“Our new … “Assam Black Tea” is now sourced from the Banaspati Estate and is both Organic and Fair Trade Certified.”

Brewed per Arbor Teas’ recommendation: 1 level tsp. / 8 oz. / 212*F / 3 to 5-min. – without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Dry leaf: uniform short length, dark brown
Fragrance: Reminded me of pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear & coppery

3 min. Initial taste: I’ll steep it longer.

4-Min.: The tea was smooth and medium-bodied w/o any bitterness or astringency.

5-Min.: Medium-to-full-bodied with a delicate sweetness and w/o any bitterness or astringency.

1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 212 F / 5 min. The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark and full-bodied, without any hint of bitterness or astringency. The malty character and caramel-like sweetness are now better appreciated.

10 min. Resteep: Produced an enjoyable cup.

Impression: This is a very smooth organic Assam. For those who enjoy a more robust cup of Assam, more than a tsp. is recommended.

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

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I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are also of interest. Many people drink tea for the anti-oxidant health benefits. So why would health conscious tea lovers drink tea that contains pesticide residues?

I especially enjoy teas with a natural rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to natural bittersweet cocoa.

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Incomplete, non-specific, or cutesy instructions such as: “Just add water and enjoy.” significantly reduces the possibility that I will purchase that particular tea.

Having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” is too time-inefficient, wastes valuable tea and impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration.

The best tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea each year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Our recent orders have been from: Tao Tea Leaf, Whispering Pines, Yezi, TeaVivre, What-Cha, Mandala, Zen Tea Life, and Verdant. Kudos to: Tao, Brenden, Boris, Angel Chen, Alistair Rea, Garret Sorensen, Kenneth Son, & David Duckler who have all been extremely helpful.

My cupboard doesn’t include the many greatly appreciated samples generously provided by Steepsters’s favorite tea suppliers and by several very kind Steepster members.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see:

#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter:

- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1:

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, a winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.


Mid-Atlantic, USA

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