I haven’t tried this tea yet so I thought I should break it out today. The smell is nice. My first thought was “Cardboard? I didn’t think there was Assam in this?” But then I stuck my nose in the cup (instead of just smelling the wafting scent while pouring) and that changed my mind. The main scent is a slight smoky + earthy, stout Keemun but then there’s a bit of lighter, somewhat fruity Ceylon dancing around in there, too. Once it cooled just a tad, the smoky hint was gone and there was a solid tea smell left… I’m having trouble picking the scents of the tea out as well but it smells almost like… grape. There’s a little faint earth + wine scent and a little faint muscadine scent. Super-light, I really had to smell to find it, but it keeps it from being ‘default tea’ and makes it ‘good tea’.
And it tastes like good tea, too. No sugar, no milk, but it is probably stout enough to deal with a little of that because it does have a very nice body to it. (Insert wolf whistle here). There’s a taste that, if stronger, might develop into cocoa at the front end and a taste that, if stronger, might be a Darjeeling-esque citrus/muscadine sharpness at the end. And the aftertaste has a dry, starchy sweetness to it. As it cools, that Darjeeling-esque tartness increases just a hair but the dryness of the aftertaste decreases, too.
And now my cup is empty. Overall, a good standard tea. I feel kind of bad that I can’t say it’s great or bad, just good. But it’s not hard to get through, it’s not a special occasion tea. This is like the clothing equivalent of a pair of lounge pants. They don’t make you look a few inches taller and 10 pounds slimmer, but they look a whole lot better on than those sweatpants with the little elastic at the ankles and you know you’ll wear them at some point (if not pretty regularly). The same with this tea. It’s not quite a ‘need a cuddle on the couch’ tea or a ‘makes my mouth sparkle’ tea. It’s just good, solid tea.
I shared this tea with the husband and his response when asked his thoughts: “Kind of like a Darjeeling with the bitter notes at the end… the first part makes me almost think of a pu-erh”. Overall, though, he wasn’t a big fan (but then, he’s not a fan of Darjeelings or earthy teas). This was more up my alley than his.