I, too, got this tea as a free sample from Upton Tea Imports. Right now I don’t know if I can write an objective review. I brewed the tea, a mix of longer and shorter leaves, happily. The dry tea did indeed smell fragrant and I wonder if the elusive aroma is the muscatel aroma that I’ve heard described. It tasted as if there were a bit of jasmine involved.

Then I got into a dispute with my grey cat, Bongo, about the dispensation of some horseradish flavoured sharp cheddar cheese. He wanted the cheese; I didnt’ want him to have it. I proffered a small bite; he wanted to snag a large piece. In this war with the feline cheese mendicant I forgot my tea. At least 8 to 10 minutes had passed. I knew the tea was ruined. Nevertheless, I poured some milk into the dark brownish-red brew and sipped. How forgiving is this tea! It was not at all bitter. It didn’t taste overcooked or oversteeped: it did taste strong and pungent but pleasantly so.

I can become a convert to Darjeelings quickly when I consider how this sweet tea bounced back from the abuse I had hurled at it and was very tasty indeed. As I drink more and more tea, I do become much more interested in unblended teas and in teas without the frou-frou that I typically love.

Next time, I will be more attentive, but I’m thrilled with the tea. It was like the heady sense of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I will continue with my sample packet, but this is going on the short-list of must-purchase teas.

8 min or more
Jim Marks

Wow! Lucky break, there.

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Jim Marks

Wow! Lucky break, there.

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I really love big, bold, brash teas. Smokiness enthralls me. I don’t seem to do subtle.
I don’t do rooibos.

My rating system:
Never again in a hundred million years

31-55: This tea probably has some redeeming qualities but I won’t would not seek it out again.

Shows some promise but also has a fundamental flaw. I probably owe these a second taste but am unmotivated.

Good with at least one strong quality; I probably would not buy it but would drink it cheerfully.

81-90: Worthy contenders; they might be ranked 100 on somebody’s else’s scale. I like them a lot but have not fallen in love. Will probably buy and use.

91-95: These are the true loves, the chosen ones, the ones I dream about and crave. Unless they are in a limited edition—la! how you tease me!—I will always keep in my cupboard.

96-100: I cannot be separated from these teas and would develop a panic attack if I were to run out.

“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.”

Elderly dowager. Quintessential cat lady.

Tea which must be in stock always:

Black Dragon LS by Upton Teas: My choice every morning.

Florence & Lapsang Souchong by Harney & Sons

a good Gen Maicha

Samovar: Russian Blend, Maiden’s Ecstasy, Ryokucha

Mariage Frères: Confucious, Vivaldi, Eros, Aida, Marco Polo

American Tea Room: Brioche

Leland Teas: Bogart

Life in Teacup:
An Xi Tie Guan Yin Grade II modern green style & also Charcoal Style


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