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84

I got a sample of this awhile back and the second half has been waiting around for me to drink and review it. This tastes just like what it is – a tea that is typically turned into a rich, fruity oolong processed instead into a black tea. All of the fruit and floral notes carry over, but now there is chocolate as well, and a hint of smoke. This may not resteep as many times as an oolong, but I would still prepare and drink it similarly – high leaf-to-water ratio, short time, drunk straight.

This is incredibly light and complex for a black tea, definitely one to make you stop. Take a breath. Take a sip. Relax and enjoy, for a few minutes.

I have the Autumn 2011 picking here, with flavors of honey, jasmine, chocolate, and juicy fruit.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 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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