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90

Brought this in to the office to try Western style today. I didn’t mention this in my last note, but the dry leaves are really pretty. Big and twisty and dark, but then there are a few silver needles scattered throughout – it’s a beautiful contrast.
The brew is a little harsher with this style, but also heartier and tastes more like a black tea to me. The aftertaste is slightly smoky.
The third steep (1.5 minutes) was pretty weak, so for the fourth I upped the time to 3 minutes, and the fifth was 5+ minutes

4th steep was still weak for my taste, 5th was quite nice

Overall, an interesting change for a breakfast tea, but probably not one I’d buy a stock of, personally

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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Boston, MA

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http://www.twitter.com/_teabird

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