Brewed gong fu style in a gaiwan, 205F, 20 seconds initial infusion. Dry leaves heavy on the cherry notes. Gaiwan lid sniff after first infusion came back with cherry and toasted almond flavors. Very brisk and astringent in initial infusions, it mellowed out to a smooth, rich nuttiness over time. I probably could’ve gotten a couple more infusions out of it, but I felt myself hitting the caffeine wall.

Amazing thing about this tea is the aftertaste. An hour later, I’m still breathing through my mouth to savor it. It’s like walking though the woods in autumn, kicking up dead leaves with each step. This is the kind of tea you want to drink when you feel lonely, disconnected or anxious. It embraces you.

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For years I have disdained tea, because my mother drank Lipton Tea every morning, and forced me to drink it when I had a cold. Also, I grew up in KY, which meant that I was expected to lap up that aberration called “sweet tea.”

Then, Coca-Cola changed their formula for Coke Zero, and I was forced to find something else to swig all day long. I ordered sample sizes from various tea companies, and when I tasted Harney & Sons’ Earl Grey Imperial, I discovered that tea did not have to be an ordeal.

Now, I brew three to four pots of tea a day, and am having a blast trying out all sorts of varieties of teas.



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