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I bought this from the English Tea Store during their free shipping promo, although you can buy it directly from Davidson’s if you are so inclined. My box from ETS was completely brutalized in transit, but I’ll discuss that further in a later post.

The tea is packaged inside a rather cheap, re-sealable ziploc-type bag, which is then placed inside a pressboard/cardboard pouch-shaped box. This is a 63 gram box. If you buy larger sizes from Davidson’s, perhaps they have better packaging.

I’m wondering if the packaging is a factor in the fact that the dry tea has almost no aroma at all. I had to practically ingest this in my nose to get even a faint scent of anything. This Assam-Ceylon blend brews a coppery brown cup. The ratio of Assam to Ceylon is good-more Assam than Ceylon. This is malty, but a bit bland and boring for an Irish Breakfast. It’s not very brisk or robust at all. I think I am going to call the company and see if I can get a production date, because I have a feeling this may have been on a shelf in a warehouse for entirely too long. It’s not stale or bitter, but it is uneventful. If I’m going with Irish Breakfast, I am in the mood (or NEED) something lively and bold and this just isn’t it at all.

EDIT-I just got off the phone with a very nice rep from Davidson’s and apparently the tea was produced in January (by them). Of course, the Assam and Ceylon must be 2011 harvests-but they shouldn’t be so weak so fast. Not sure how ETS stored this, but I am inclined to call this blend “Irish Breakfast for Wimps.” Of course, I am sure that even wimps enjoy good flavor-and there’s not lots of flavor here. Disappointing.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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Started drinking tea for health benefits maybe 5 years ago-exclusively bagged tea. Usually went for various Celestial Seasonings type of stuff. I bought a tea infuser at a gourmet shop once and then I realized there was almost no loose tea available. Eventually tiring of bags, I started ordering loose tea online and I have never gone back. Initially, I was exploring all the wild and exotic flavor combinations, but now I mostly drink straight teas. I still enjoy blended teas-but prefer those without “flavoring”. Hope to learn here and find some new teas I might not otherwise find. Am a vegan, so “milk” generally means “soymilk” to me. If it’s almond, rice, or coconut, I will mention that fact.

I am new here, and new to reviewing tea. Many of my initial reviews will be from memory and may not be very detailed at all. I hope to write more informative reviews on current and future teas.

I won’t let external factors affect my rating of the tea-such as slow shipping, too expensive, etc. I’ll mention any customer service problems in my reviews. I also won’t let my mistakes in not following the seller’s recommended parameters affect a rating. I can’t believe people who say “I forgot about it and oversteeped it” and then give it a rating. If I brew outside the parameters, I will wait until I brew it right before I give it a rating.

TEMPORARY RATING SYSTEM- Don’t hold me to these numbers and descriptions-like George Bluth, I like to tweak.

90+ It’s awesome, right?? I’ll probably try to keep it on hand.

80-89 – I really like this and will buy it again at some point, but there are so many teas to try!

70-79 – This is a pretty good tea and I may buy it again based on my mood, what tea store I am buying from, and what kind of deal I can get.

60-69 – This is okay. I finished the bag. I would drink it again if offered, but would not buy it again.

40-59 – IF I finished the bag, I recall this tea thinking “Why in the hell did I finish the bag?”

1-39 – Did not finish the bag. Maybe not even the cup. Tea was given away or discarded.

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