I held off on drinking this one for awhile because it sounded so strange, and smelled mostly like juniper when I opened the bag. Then, a couple weeks ago, I got a cold :( and couldn’t probably taste anything because my nose was stuffed up. This was still sitting out on the counter, and I decided to see if that “five-flavor” bit would make up for having no sense of smell. Much to my surprise, it did! The sour flavors were most prominent, but I also got sweet, savory, and bitter. This tasted more interesting than anything else I drank while my nose wasn’t working, so for that alone I like it. It tasted pretty good later too (when I no longer had the cold), and added an interesting dimension to the dong ding oolong that also came this month, but the taste without smell was what really impressed me :D

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205 °F / 96 °C 3 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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