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80

Beautiful deep red hue in the cup; I think someone pegged it as garnet. I think my water was a little too cool, because the flavor is very mild: sweet, smoky, a little bit of an earth/pine taste, but with none of the heft I’ve gotten from Jackee in the past. Will try to remedy this on the next steep (Jackee always gives me two, if not three).

2nd steep (with slightly hotter water) is a little sweeter, less smoky. The color is less intense, but the flavor is still strong, and smoother.

3rd steep is amber, sweet, and mild. Definitely got a dark/sweet flavor on the last couple of steeps that could be called burnt sugar. Any hint of astringency is gone by the 3rd, so it’s just a round, mellow, yes caramel-y, flavor. Almost starting to remind me of honeybush, but not as woody.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 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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