Alright, so in an effort to detect the subtle distinctions of different straight black teas, I decided to do a side by side by side comparison of this tea, Zhen Qu, and Jin Pin.

This tea is courtesy of the very generous Cavorcorax (thank you!!). Of the three, it is my second favorite. It is very smooth and has a nice malt. It is also quite rich and I am definitely picking up on the clove element of the tea. Oh and unfortunately this cup means it is a sipdown and there is no more PTA in my cupboard :(.

I pulled the sample of Yezi’s Jin Pin out of the SSTTB. It is my favourite of the three I am trying and the one I think I want to have stocked (which makes sense given it is the tea that inspired this exploration). I get a lot of malt and caramel in this and for my tastes, it is the most preferable. This is not to say the others are not amazingly delicious, however this is the closest to dessert teas of the straight blacks I tried and so it is a good transition while my tastes are still changing.

Zhen Qu is my least favorite of the three teas but it is still a really amazing tea. It has an astringency to it which in this case is not a bad thing but is still one of the reasons I prefer the other teas. Flavorwise, this is quite nutty which is enjoyable. Also, the malt on this is a bit less than the other two cups. Very tasty but just not preferred when compared to the other two options. Nonetheless, thank you Cavocorax for helping me with my straight black journey! Oh, and this is a sipdown as well so no more Zhen Qu for me.

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My cupboard has grown exponentially since joining this site and I have a lot to share. Feel free to snoop through my cupboard and message me if anything interests you – I am always happy to swap!

For me, flavored teas are definitely my sweet spot. I will most often reach for black teas and rooibos or honeybush blends but I do keep some flavored whites and greens around for when the mood strikes. I have a few herbals/tisanes but most of the time I find myself disappointed by them as they often smell deliciously sweet and then end up tasting tart/sour. I have a little bit of an aversion to pu’erh and oolong teas. I am also wary of florals, earl greys, and chai teas. I do not like overpowering citrus flavors nor do I usually like hibiscus, licorice or chamomile. I love dessert teas – caramel, vanilla, toffee, cookie, cream, and other sweet flavors make me smile. Fruits like strawberry, peach, mango, and pineapples will often catch my attention as well.

I have also realized that although I really enjoy adding frothed milk to some of my teas, if I do not like the tea with zero additives (just in plain water without milk or sugar), I probably won’t drink it. The one exception is flavored matchas which I will happily drink in cold milk if I do not like it mixed with hot water. My theory is if the tea can’t stand on its own then it is not for me and I will more than likely try to swap it out for something else.

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Thornhill, Ontario

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