This is my all-around “black tea” default for when I’m in the mood for just a straight cuppa, when making a base for an iced tea, or just when I want to add more straight black Keemun to some other blend.

First let’s be honest and admit you get what you pay for and there is no such thing as “cheap top-shelf tea”, but this tea does fulfill the category of “inexpensive but still good”. For the price point (around $7-8 USD on Amazon per 100g tin or $20 USD for half a kilo), this is surprisingly decent. I prefer it with lemon, because without the acidity there is a hint of that wet-hay flavor you can expect from slightly older teas. 75% of the time when I am making this tea it is a few liters at a time with half a lemon thinly sliced in the pitcher and then keep it in the fridge for a fresh supply of iced tea — this is where it really shines the most for me. Unlike other more expensive kinds, it doesn’t feel too expensive to just load up 6-8 tsp per liter to make a good base for iced tea and drink that in lieu of water or soda. Goes well with fruits like peaches & assorted berries, but I still prefer the sliced lemons for this stuff.

There is nearly always a supply of this in my tea pantry, I consider it a consistent staple.

The short version: A solid English Breakfast that is readily available on Amazon in bulk quantities at a low price, best used for iced teas IMHO. Better than your off-the-shelf supermarket English Breakfast teabags. What most non-tea-drinkers think of when they hear “tea”.

Flavors: Hot Hay, Malt, Tea, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 240 ML

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Musician, pilot, philanthropist, tea lover. Nothing beats a spiced oolong at 10,000 feet. Except maybe a cuppa dian hong with my feet next to the fireplace. Or some fresh bai hao yin zhen before bedtime. My rating system is pretty much like this:

1-20 : ‘Blech’ cuppa. Didn’t even finish the one I brewed, rest went in trash. That bad, at least for me.

21-40: ‘Meh’ cuppa. Finished it but threw away the rest of the tea or used it for other purposes like baking, gifts for in-laws, or serve to unwanted houseguests. Kinda like Twinnings or Lipton bag tea.

41-60: ‘Standard’ cuppa. Won’t buy any more, but will certainly brew all that I have left. Probably will use it to blend with other teas or as a base, or large quantities of iced tea for parties and such.

61-80: Good cuppa. Now we’re talking. Worth buying more if at the right price, love blending some of these too. Sometimes a few oddballs will find their way into this score just because I liked the fruity flavor or having it as an iced tea. Also my starting score range for new kinds of tea until I develop a good feel for my preferences or learn to better distinguish quality characteristics.

81-99: Awesome cuppa. You’ll probably find this in my pantry pretty regularly, unless it has been discontinued or I’m waiting for my next trip to Asia or Europe to pick up some more. Holds up well to multiple infusions (unless black/herbal), and will typically drink it unadulterated/straight. I’ll gladly pay premium prices and chances are I’ll be ordering and tasting a bunch of other teas this producer/company offers.

100: Cuppa bliss, oh where have you been all my life???! I will burn frequent flier miles and journey to the ends of the earth while paying nearly any price to make sure I have this stocked at all times. Over time as I discover some magical new teas, a few may fall off this list. Try to keep it max 1 per type of tea.

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