I had never had a CTC tea before, besides possibly in a bag in my early days, so this is a new experience for me. Rather than recognizable leaves, this tea looks almost exactly like grape-nuts would, if for some reason wheat and tea traded places in the universe. The leaves have a slightly brisk but full smell, with a hint of dried apple.
The brew is a deep, dark red. It may be the smoothest black tea I’ve ever had, which is not what I was expecting from a CTC tea. From what little I’d read about them, it seemed that CTC teas would be powerful but harsh.
American Breakfast doesn’t really have much in the way of out-of-the-ordinary flavors, but there’s absolutely nothing not to like about the taste. It is robust and full, but mellow and without any bitterness or astringency, which is something of an accomplishment with a black tea. The mouthfeel is something like a very smooth coffee. This is a quandary for me, score-wise, because how do you compare this with a tea that does something more interesting and unusual but has astringency or some other undesirable characteristic? In any case, it’s a very enjoyable tea and one that I recommend. It would be very hard to dislike.
(taken with milk and a spoon of sugar, as always)