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84

This smells so sweet and buttery, like sweet potato pie, or butterscotch. The flavor is more rugged, showing grain and the peppery side of yunnan rather than chocolate or cream. There is a sweetness though, as I sip longer. The description suggests honey and butter on toast – that seems about right, but it’s a hearty wheat bread, well-toasted and crunchy.

Sometimes when I first sip I’m convinced that I oversteeped this, but then the bitterness never actually materializes, it just rolls into that rumbly dark toast taste.

I’m also going to wager that this is highly caffeinated, from the way it’s going to my head already.

Overall, a good strong black tea to drink straight-up and start the day

ETA: On my 3rd steep now, more mild but still flavorful, getting more sparkly spice and a bit of fruit.

western style, 2 heaping tsp to 8oz water

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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