Experience buying from Teavana online http://steepster.com/places/2822-teavana-online-atlanta-georgia
Date of Purchase: Purchased at their 2011 end-of-year sale at a discount, and brewed up my first cup right away.
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Pretty,: a few light-caramel-colored leaves mixed in with mostly dark chocolate-brown leaves; a little sweet, and like any standard Indian black tea, not too aromatic, and definitely not as yummy as it tastes.
Brewing guidelines: Ceramic cup and lid, tea in metal basket strainer; stevia added.
……….1st: Off boiling, mildly warmed cup; 2’ …Awesome!
……….2nd: Near boiling, warmed cup; 3’…….Still Awesome!
……….3rd: Boiling, warmed cup; 4’…………….Great!
……….4th: Boiling, very warmed cup; 7’………Still good flavor!
……….5th: Spot on Boiling, hot cup; 10’ ……..Oh, well, just mild flavor.
Aroma of tea liquor: < later >
Flavor of tea liquor: I really liked the flavor of this Assam. I am still new to the unflavored black arena, but this tea reminds me of a good Yunnan in that it was sweet and carmel-y; I think full bodied applies here, too. Oh, and I just remembered the malty question (“How do you describe what malty tastes like?”) I asked on Steepster a while back; I remember LiberTEAS (and others) trying to help me to understand what malty truly tastes like (like the wort of pre-fermented beer, OR bread-y, yeast-y; these all helped), and I remember someone suggesting to try a good Assam. Well, here it is, but I’m not certain I am any wiser. Next time I brew this up (I am writing this up a day after drinking it), I need to sit down and really take in the flavor of this Assam and pay attention to what comes up for me. Next time.
Appearance of wet leaf: Looks like mid-grade Indian leaf to me, although it says, FTGFOP-1. Really? It doesn’t look much better than the leaf in a Java OP I have. I guess I don’t know much about the grading system of Indian black teas, either. Which begs the question, what do I know, anyway? : p
Value: This tea is less than $1/oz at 75% off the original price (I am estimating it was about $3/oz.). I think full price isn’t even that far off the mark, considering the flavor.
Overall: This is what I consider to be my first Assam (although I have very likely had one before, and I didn’t know it at the time). A minor note: It gave the inside of my white ceramic cup a light chocolate colored stain that I don’t think any of the other black teas have done (but I guess I normally steep black tea in my traditional ceramic teapot, so doing it in a cup is kinda new for me, and said tea did sit for a while during at least one steeping). I admit I wasn’t expecting much out of this tea, as I get the impression the Assam’s are the run-of-the-mill Indian black teas. Well, either I am dead wrong (happens often enough) or this is an exceptional Assam, for, this … tea … ROCKS! I love the sweetness, and the caramel flavor. I am impressed that it yielded four good steepings. I look forward to brewing this up again (and I wish I had bought more, now that it’s sold out!).