I am going to try to give a fair and balanced review of this tea. I enjoyed my cup, but I think my brewing technique could be improved. The leaves are very small, and do not lend themselves to a normal filter basket or tea ball. I really need to put them in a tea bag due to the amount of dust present. I think this is due to the processing technique. Once I let this dust settle to the bottom of my cup, I got a better taste.
Initial impressions: Strong, bitter, a little acrid, and very brisk! It definitely had the classic, dark breakfast tea taste. I think the acrid taste came from the little bits of leaves finding their way out of my filter. I didn’t enjoy it plain, but with just a little soy milk it was smooth and creamy and flavorful. The milk really brought out all of the good tastes in this tea and I could taste caramel and malt and all sorts of other good, full flavors. In summary, this is definitely strong, brisk and a good kick of caffeine. I’ll use a disposable paper filter next time to reduce the tea dust and maybe it will even be good plain. But with milk it was exactly what I look for in a strong breakfast tea. Well done, Shan Valley, and you cannot beat your prices!
Steep 2 – Just as strong as the first, and unfortunately, just as much dust making it bitter. It was a little less bitter the second time around, but still tasty with milk. You can definitely taste the tea through the milk for this one. I’ll bet it makes divine iced tea – probably perfect for Arnold Palmers since it is so strong.