Appearance: large chunks of whole spices. Liquor: brown with heavy sedimentation. Smell: very strong and spicy. Taste: I don’t actually get the chocolate taste very much with this one. It is a lovely, warm spice blend, with strong cinnamon and cardamom flavors. Standing on it’s own, this is a 5/10. What I actually like to do with this one, though, is blend it with other teas and tisanes. Blended with rooibos is really good, and it’s a nice way of bringing variety to an otherwise nondescript black. As a blending agent, I may rate this as a 7/10.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Attorney in San Francisco. Recent convert to tea drinking, but I’m hooked. I also love experimenting with vegetarian food (meaning I rarely use recipes). Long time chocolate lover.

When I review a tea, I will identify the following information: Source – “Name.” Style, including loose, bag, or sachet. Appearance, referring to the appearance of the leaves dry. Liquor, referring to the appearance of the brewed drink. Smell, referring to the brewed liquor. Taste (self-explanatory). Other insights. Finally, I will give it a score from 1 to 10. Anything in the 1-3 range is something that I disliked and am unlikely to consume again. Anything in the 4-6 range is okay; I am not likely going to buy it again, but if I came across it and wasn’t paying (or past my fairly low caffeine tolerance for the day), I probably would consume again. Anything in the 7-9 range is something I liked, and the higher the score the more likely I will try to keep the particular tea around. I intend to use a 10 rating very rarely, and only for the very best.

General notes:

I don’t like milk or sugar in my tea, except for an Indian style chai masala and certain other exceptional cases. Many black teas are blended to be more on the bitter side, and thus to call for sugar to soften and round the flavors. When I think to try sugar in such a black, my review will note any difference between the straight and sugared taste. I’m doing that for the review process, because if something requires sugar, I’m unlikely to commit to it for one of my standard teas. I can’t imagine using sugar in a green, oolong, or white tea, so don’t expect that distinction in reviews of those types.


San Francisco



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