88

Mmm, the dry leaves smell like coffee, and chocolate, and fall (that is, dry leaves :P). They’re big and pretty too, just like the picture. The flavor is more like an oolong than I expected – might try it with a shorter steep time, maybe even cooler water, because I’m getting a little tannic kick on the back end. It’s still quite smooth overall, though, roasty and warm; it almost tastes like a Darjeeling, actually, with that sharp roasted fruit flavor.

I used about a quarter of my 6g free sample (thanks Ginko!), so I’ll enjoy playing with this some more.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 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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