I think this is my first Japanese black tea, and I’m excited to try it.

The dry leaf is dark, small and twisty and there’s a fair bit of orange dust in the bag. It smells earthy, musty and fruity.

This didn’t come with any steeping directions, so I figured I’d try steeping a cup at 96C. I set a time for three minutes, but after two it was starting to taste pretty strong, so I pulled the leaf out after 2:30.

The liquor is very dark brown and smells amazing. Intensely malty and fruity. The flavour is malty, sweet and has notes of ripe stone fruits. Ever so faint traces of bitter and astringency, and a touch of mineral on the finish, which dissolves to bread and plums. A fairly thick mouth feel, that’s coating, but not drying.

A second steep for 4:30 minutes provides another lovely cup.

I don’t think I need this in my cupboard – it’s delicious but not that unique.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Earth, Fruity, Malt, Mineral, Musty, Plums, Sweet, Thick

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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