Steeping these leaves in a small, ceramic teapot, I would love to say that the smell conjured up old memories of camping trips and the like…but it did not. It was, however, a delightful aroma that wafted from my teapot to my nose. I steeped the leaves for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, a happy compromise when the website suggested 2-3 minutes. Based on my initial impressions of the tea, if you use the correct amount, then 2 minutes is good for a very light tea, and 3 minutes is good if you like your black tea stronger (as I do). Canton Tea Co’s website says that they stored this tea for an extra year to enhance the smokiness and fruit flavours, and I would certainly agree that this has been successful.
The post-steeped leaves are twisted and curly, reddish brown in colour. When I take my first sip, I notice that the smokiness of the tea has a certain subtlety, and the aroma is not overwhelming, as it can be at times with Lapsang Souchong. The tea has brewed a golden brown colour. The forward taste of this tea is light and smooth, while the smokiness dwells in the aftertaste. The aftertaste also contains almost-fruity notes, following the smokiness. These then meld back into a mellow smoked black tea flavour, which is light, almost like a darjeeling.
I would give this tea an 85/100 on my personal enjoyment scale. It was truly a delectable treat.