All right Golden Moon, you’re going to have a hard time living up to Mariage Freres Vanille des Iles or Black Orchid…let’s see what you’ve got. The aroma is promising, strong natural vanilla flavor, and some sweet background note as well, like malt or cocoa. I see a sliver or two of vanilla bean too, a great sign.

In the pot, it brews up a clear dark brown, and after three minutes I’m getting a woodsy scent in there now too. I like my vanilla tea strong, but I’ll stop at four minutes to see where we are with it. The first sip is…underwhelming. I taste the black tea, which is fine, but where the vanilla is supposed to be is a place holder value that’s not quite what I was expecting. There’s still a pleasant maltiness in the aftertaste. It’s trying really hard but is not yet there. Shucks! Maybe the addition of cream and sugar will bring out more flavors.

Not so much. The warmth of vanilla is there, but again it feels like it’s standing in for the real thing, which is waiting in the wings somewhere but never quite arriving. Overall a pleasant tea, but not enough vanilla flavor for my taste.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!


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