I’ve never been one for breakfast teas. They make me nervous. Are they a tea-lover’s equivalent to the black hole that is a cup of morning coffee? Are they robust? Aggressive? Some hideous demonic fiend, come to rip me from my comfortable sleep-deprived stupor? I don’t want that. Not at all. Leave me alone, scary black tea.

I love to force myself out of my comfort zone… really, I do, but I don’t think I truly left it by ordering this tea. It’s surprisingly mellow and non-confrontational, which is very misleading, seeing as the sticker for this tea consists of some dude in a chariot, clutching both a spear and shield. I was expecting to get shredded and then dragged along behind! I usually steep it underneath the recommended 4-5 minute mark but I think I would still be safe if I hit that time. It would be the perfect milk companion then.

Orange Pekoe is new to me, as are “Indian teas”. A peppery finish, while less new, is still a novelty, although I don’t always pick that up with this blend. A cup of this tends to be pointy and a tad bready- like a morning orange and bun. It has a zippy fresh quality that is invigorating, yet manages not to shred my tongue up with astringent talons. It’s pleasant and bright.

The liquid’s aroma comes off as pleasantly musky sweet. It tasted and smelled rather fine with the butter chicken yesterday. It’s been a good month for black teas!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

White teas, roasted/fired green teas, and the not so roasted green oolong varieties are my favourites. I enjoy the odd shu puerh too.

Currently looking for the most buttery and sweet green oolong I can find.

Ingredients/flavours I enjoy (in moderation): anise, butter, caramel, cedar, cream, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lilac, lime, maple, marshmallow leaves, melon, mint, orchid, pine, rice, rose, vanilla.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike: apple, cocoa nibs, licorice, marine, peach, stevia

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

91-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

86-90: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-85: A lovely tea, maybe of high quality or masterful blending, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Enjoyable, but I may have few minor problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Quality, consistency, blending, or personal preference problems are apparent, but I wouldn’t pass up a cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This is last year’s low-grade bancha mixed with rancid coconut, stale cocoa nibs, over-enthusiastic hibiscus, and stevia sweetener. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.


BC, Lower Mainland

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