A new Middle Eastern grocery store just opened a few miles from my house. I’m always anxious to check out new restaurants and food stores as they pop up in my booming neck of the woods in South Carolina. While I was perusing the exotic meats and sweets, my wife was excited for me when she saw a rack of teas from abroad.

When I noticed this El Arosa tea on the rack, two things immediately intrigued me:

1. amazingly low price
2. packaging in a vacuum-packed brick, like coffee

I had almost nothing to lose so I brought it home for a trial spin. I made a crucial mistake when I opened the package. I assumed that the brick of tea was solid. It was not. Thirty percent of the contents poured down my sink when I opened the package at a precarious angle. You know what they say about “assume”…

After steadying the remaining contents of the package, I stuck my nose inside to get a whiff. The extremely finely ground tea (hence, the name, Egyptian “Dust” Black Tea) had very little aroma in its unbrewed state.

I brewed the powder-like dark brown tea leaves for five minutes at 212 degrees. The finished product was also dark brown like coffee. I’m wondering if the six teaspoons of tea I used to brew five cups were overkill. I’ll play with that next time.

The brewed liquid had a little more smell than its dry counterpart. The aroma was definitely black tea but I couldn’t discern its origin.

The flavor was smooth and pleasant, but mild. It had malty characteristics. If I were forced to name the variety of black tea used by taste alone, I would guess Assam.

Personally I prefer more robust flavors, but this taste was engaging enough for me to drink the whole pot and look forward to more. It is allergy season in my region so that might also explain my perceived lack of flavor clout. The aftertaste was also mild without excess astringency.

This tea is a good bargain. I would definitely recommend it for its smoothness and its mild but cordial flavor. And, did I mention price? :-)

Flavors: Malt, Tea

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 40 OZ / 1182 ML

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I ventured into the world of serious tea drinking in the Summer of 2011. I started out slowly and gently with bagged tea but climbed to the incredible flavorful heights of loose leaf teas in October of that year. Once you go leaf, you never go bag (except when you get free samples)!


South Carolina, USA

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