This morning, courtesy of Aubrey at Arbor Teas, I’m very fortunate to enjoy and pleased to be the first to review a 2013 Tonganagoan Estate, 2nd flush Assam SFTGFOP1, USDA Organic, premium black tea, Western style: 8 oz / 1 tsp (1.6g) / 212*F / 3-5 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Leaf: Approximately a 50/50 mixture of dark chocolate brown twisted leaves and golden tips, both thin & thick, 1 cm long.
Fragrance: A wonderfully rich scent that reminded me of hay / straw
Liquor: Clear medium amber
Aroma: Same as fragrance but not as strong.
Flavor: Malt with hints of barley and sweet mushroom

3-min: A very smooth, moderately full-bodied, rich, complex Assam with hints of barley and sweet mushrooms. The hints of mushroom persist long on the tongue. There was no bitterness or astringency.

4-min & 5 min: Smooth & medium bodied w/no bitterness or astringency.
6-min: Smooth & fuller- bodied w/no bitterness or astringency.

Impression: A smooth, rich, unique, and intriguing organic Assam. Definitely not a typical Assam! Well done!

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for including this gracious sample with my recent order.

RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket

Flavors: Malt, Mushrooms

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Oooh, this sounds nice.

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Oooh, this sounds nice.

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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.

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 most recent orders were from TeaVivre, Verdant, Zen Tea Life, & Mandala Tea. Kudos to Angel Chen, David Duckler, Kenneth Son, Garret Sorensen who have been extremely helpful.

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, an annual winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.


Mid-Atlantic, USA

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