This tea has a nice, brisk, slightly smoky aroma. This is a blend of Chinese black teas. You can taste the thin, darker character of Keemun but the overall flavor is a little fuller in the mouth. It is not very bitter or smoky but is a bit dry. There is a surprising burst of sweetness in the aftertaste when the air hits your tongue. The more I drink the more body this tea seems to have and the rounder the taste becomes. This tea has an interesting character, full of flavor. It is also very delicious with milk and sugar.

This blend reminds me of English Breakfast but tastes a little brighter, a little rounder, a little more outgoing and a little less dry and reserved, much like I imagine one could contrast the historical stereotypes of the prim and proper buttoned-up British with the warm, welcoming and partying Portuguese. It is, therefore, quite aptly named after Queen Catherine of Braganza who, though maintaining the proper royal decorum as the wife of England’s Charles II, perhaps might also have enjoyed the conviviality of Carnaval time in Portugal, her home country.

I think this is a great anytime tea and one to keep on hand for guests. There’s something about it, though, that to my taste feels a bit reticent, as if there is more to the story than the leaves are willing to tell, hidden by subtle shades within the flavor that veil a brighter, more robust sweetness, but I imagine I am just projecting onto this tea my own subconscious desire for such sweetness and unwillingness to fully embrace this tea’s dry, smoky undertones. My own personal taste notwithstanding, this is indeed a very good blend and worthy of being added to your cupboard.

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I am a writer, musician, and aspiring tea aficionado. I have been enjoying tea and reading about tea for a little over a decade now. I am particularly interested in the role of tea in contemplative spirituality. Currently I am sampling my way through a variety of teas just to keep my palate fresh and knowledgeable. I do prefer certain teas, but I keep my mind open to new possibilities and enjoy finding fresh, new tea flavors to add to my list of favorites. I am hoping my participation here will help me gain new knowledge and new friends who share a passion for tea.



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