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Huh. My first thought up upon opening this was that the dry leaves smelled chocolatey. Like, really “did I spill Florence somewhere?” chocolate. The liqueur is amber, a light tawny orange, and smells… roasted at first, like a dark oolong, then very fruity (citrus, in particular) as the aroma spreads. Sipping, this tastes fruity and like it wants to be bitter – on the tip of my tongue – but doesn’t quite have the astringency to pull it off. Makes me glad I didn’t steep it any longer, or use more leaf. I did use a heaping half tsp of leaf (about 1.7g) for 4oz, which may have been too much, but I was curious to see how this would go through multiple infusions. There’s very little tea flavor to this first infusion, mostly the fruity and astringency. Rather what I imagine a tea made of grapefruit peel would be like :P

Second steep is smoother, but flavor descriptors still elude me. This tea is all sharp edges and shadows when I’m used to something with body, and color. I’ll keep trying, and see how long it lasts. Maybe milk or sugar would help?

Hm. 3rd infusion (~3 minutes) is the best, most harmonious, yet. More of a pale gold color, and still too seems too light to add milk to, but sweet and mild enough not to need sugar. This seems temperamental – even for a Darjeeling – but maybe worth getting to know.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 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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