Bellocq Tea Atelier

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Recent Tasting Notes

89

Normally I go for Bellocq’s No. 1 Breakfast Blend, but awhile ago I was in the atelier and picked this up as well – couldn’t resist. Awesome stuff. I love Ceylon teas, and this is a wonderful example of why. Bright yet still rich, with honey notes and that fruity, citrus-y quality particular to Ceylon teas. Super enjoyable. Great with milk, unsweetened, per my usual.

Flavors: Bright, Citrusy, Honey, Rich

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown

No note from me and it’s a sipdown? How?

This was a lovely white tea. It is very floral but not as potent as White Wedding. I enjoy floral tea but Ashman doesn’t with the exception of jasmine green so it took me a while to sip this one down.

It is lavender forward and so relaxing to drink. Would re-order someday, as I liked both this and White Wedding which is exuberantly, proudly, ostentatiously bursting with flowers.

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drank Da Hong Pao by Bellocq Tea Atelier
3206 tasting notes

February Sipdown Prompt – a tea that makes you feel cozy

Both Da Hong Pao and Dong Ding teas are very cozy to me. I am surprised that I have not reviewed this one yet! This was a gift from Superanna.

Yesterday afternoon I felt like continuing my celebration. I chose three chocolates and this tea, and used a scent cup to get the full sensory experience of this tea.

Honestly, as I sat there inhaling the aroma from the scent cup, I felt that I could stop there and say I had enjoyed a great tea experience. It smelled so good. As I cast about in my mind for how to describe what I was smelling, I finally settled on cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, nearly done, not too much cinnamon. Or a sweet bread, warm and waiting to be lightly glazed. How lovely that I het to drink it, too!

The tea was clear and of medium body. There is a light cinnamon note, a hint of minerality, and well-rounded flavor.

Second steep got the scent cup as well, and this time the freshly baked sweet bread has stepped back a bit and the minerality has come forward, like a hint of rou gui, just a little rock oolong peeking through. The change in the aroma is reflected in the flavor with mineral notes replacing some of the sweetness. It is by no means less enjoyable.

A third steep was made but I did not use the scent cup for this one. It is much the same as the second steep and I think that a fourth steep would not do this tea justice today. I ended my session. I want to remember you like this, Da Hong Pao.

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I love the Witcher series. I like the books, I like the show, I like the narrator for the audiobooks. When I hear the name of this tea I think of the Witcher, Gerald, who was referred to as the white wolf. This tea doesn’t taste at all like an association of that character. It has cedar, which I can smell and is the reason I found this tea intriguing. The woman working the counter at Bellocq said they have two teas with cedar. I think the other was Parks something. I had a sample tasting of it in the store, but wasn’t taken by it. This is a white tea, it’s very light and ethereal. It has a mild sweetness to it. Maybe a touch of anise? It’s a nice mellow blend. I’m enjoying it, but I don’t think it’s bold enough for me to want to keep it in stock.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
AJRimmer

My only experience with the Witcher is listening to the songs on Youtube repeatedly – they’re so good! I need to watch/read it one day!

Dustin

OMG! Declan de Barra is AMAZING! He is one of the show producers and sang some of the songs. He was a musician from Ireland before going into TV. He did a few solo albums and was in a band, Clan Zu. As much as I enjoyed the TV series, I REALLY wish I had the opportunity to see Declan live.

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Back from a whirlwind two night trip to NYC with some friends to see Sleep No More one last time before they close and I squeezed in a 90m side quest to Bellocq! I’ve been curious about their teas, but haven’t been anywhere that I could smell or taste them before buying. It looks like most of their selection is straight teas and the 25 blends they had included herbal. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do less that 2oz bags of their teas, even thought they have the bulk caddies lining the shelves. If that was the case I would have bought a larger selection than the four I took home.

I’m on my second cup of this and it goes down easy and pleasantly! It has a mix of warm spices, anise being the dominant flavor. I think I get a little vanilla in the back of the sip. It reminds me of a Theodor tea… Oh La La perhaps? It is also heavy on the anise. If I don’t forget I have this, it’s likely to be drunk fairly quickly!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Was it beautiful in the shop?

Dustin

It was! It was an old brick building. It has a wood witch sort of vibe, rustic with plants, dark colors and warm. Very pleasing on the senses, especially as a refuge in a busy city. Their sitting room has a brick fireplace with a detailed metal insert and lots of seating in a dusty rose color. I could have happily sat and had a cup there if I had a larger window of time. I took a few pictures that I put up on my IG, but I didn’t get any wider shots of the place because I was trying not to get photos of other customers. https://www.instagram.com/p/C2a0BvaS-1Z/?img_index=1

ashmanra

So happy you got to experience it! If the fire had been lit, it would have been extra hard to leave!

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Didn’t care for it, too medicinal. There are medicinal teas I like better but this one is not for me. Gave it away.

Cameron B.

Star anise and eucalyptus together sounds… interesting. :P

ashmanra

That wasn’t the word that popped in my head when I drank it! LOL

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February Sipdown Prompt – a flavored white tea

It absolutely blew my mind to look up this tea and see that there is not a single note for it from me. I have had this for a very long time. Anything with bergamot takes a long time to sip down because Ashman doesn’t care for it and neither did my tea party guest, so it was up to me to drink it all, and because I myself do not often reach for Earl Grey type teas. I like the ones with other interest like cream or berry flavors, and the ones on a smoky or Keemun base, but they still are not my go-to.

This is a very nice one and I actually have had it twice today. I flash chilled a bit to go with lunch, and thought I had enough leaf to account for the extra liquid from the ice but I didn’t. Honestly, my lunch glass tasted almost like pure white tea so that was a feat in itself.

Since I hadn’t made it well enough to truly taste it, I decided to have a hot cuppa after lunch with a few squares of a raspberry creme flavor Milka bar. This was much better and had more flavor. This is probably my oldest white tea other than one for aging, but the white tea part is still robust and the bergamot is very nice with no tartness or bitterness, no chemical or perfume taste.

It is a very nice tribute tea for David Bowie, indeed. And furthermore, I think Ashman would dig this one, so I will serve it to him soon and see.

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Too much ginger for me without anything else redeeming going on for me. Not a fan.

I plan to give it to a former student who loves Bellocq to try.

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96

I was pleased with this fantastic find on a vacation. I bought a small, sample size to try since it is expensive. I will think about trying it iced if I have enough. A very soothing and comforting tea.

Flavors: Lavender, Lemon

Preparation
7 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Thanks to Cameron for sending this one along!

I was surprised to see a rose petal in this mix, but perhaps one won’t have too much of an effect…

The steeped scent is really lovely – like a freshly baked holiday baked good.

Hmm. The good news is that I don’t really get any floral from the rose petal. The base mixes well with the flavours, but it may be just a touch clove and anise-heavy and that covers some other flavours that may have had a chance to balance the blend. The tea overall seems quite thick and malty. It is reminiscent of a baked good with just a bit too much spice.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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94

Fantastic blend of green tea and floral scents. I feel lifted up and sophisticated. Some caffeine

Flavors: Flowers

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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68

This has a strong base that is a bit astringent and smoky. I found there was an Earthy/lightly roasty flavour (kukicha). I did see in the loose leaf there were juniper berries and cedar tips, but I did not taste anything piney or resiny. I was really hoping to taste that cedar. It ended up being a generic black tea made slightly interesting by the kukicha.

Flavors: Astringent, Earth, Roasted, Smoke, Tannic

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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85

Thank you, Cameron, I had this last night. I finished all your samples except one (the peppermint cream) and enjoyed them all so much!

Interesting and yummy tea. Unfortunately, I accidentally threw out the tea after the first infusion. Doh. I was cleaning out my other gaiwan and went on cleaning autopilot. At least I got to drink the first infusion. I do not know what juniper or cedar tastes like but whatever all the flavors in this tea, it was tasty and different. It was sweet, had honey, smoke, malts notes with a nice roasted-toasted comforting flavor. I enjoyed it so much. Thank you again, Cameron B.!

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Roasted, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Sil

Love this one

Kawaii433

I’m glad that I got to try it, Sil. :)

ashmanra

This is one I have been wanting to try for a while. It is intriguing, but I have so much tea I really shouldn’t buy anything just yet! Maybe soon!

Crowkettle

The over-keen tea clean has struck many of us! I remember liking this one quite a bit too! I’ll have to pick up more someday; too bad Bellocq is so expensive!

Kawaii433

@ashmanra I feel that way about so many teas (i.e. that I shouldn’t buy anything yet.) lol.
@CrowKettle I didn’t know they are expensive, I am happy Cameron B. shared it then! :)

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79

Thank you Cameron B. :D for today’s daily sipper choice.

At first, I was apprehensive trying this tea. I only like mint if it’s mild… This is subtle and it’s well balanced with the other ingredients. It’s creamy, slightly minty, with a spearmint taste more than peppermint, only because it has a less cooling effect and because of that, it melds really well with the other ingredients so one ingredient isn’t standing out. It’s not strong like Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum (thank goodness). I also feel and taste a little spice, like black pepper or something which really makes it interesting. It’s slightly sweet, I can’t really taste the vanilla. It was a nice surprise.

Flavors: Anise, Creamy, Mint, Pepper, Smooth, Spearmint

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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82

Sipdown! 29/365

Ahahahaha, sounds like this was originally from Crowkettle, and came to me via Sil, so thanks to you both! It’s marked “Floral Death”, which I think is hilarious. (I recall being apprehensive when I saw it in my bag the first time, but my flavour preferences have shifted a bit since then.) The tea contained rose petals, which worried me, but to my absolute delight, it appears to be much more heavily lavender/jasmine/not rose (I don’t like rose). So this one-cup sample was very much enjoyed by me, as lavender teas seem to have a calming effect on me, and I could use some calming. Haha. The white base was excellent here, with the florals; I would just prefer the tea to be even more heavy on the lavender.

Sil

Hahahahaha I remember that :)

Kittenna

Yeah. Definitely not your cup of tea, haha.

ashmanra

Ha! I love this tea, but yeh, if you are not into floral, you are going to HATE this one. I mix it with plain white for a friend who is just meh about floral.

Crowkettle

Wow! What a flashback :) This tea has gotten around and is doing surprisingly well considering when I bought it (four years ago now!?).

I agree on the lavender.

Kittenna

It was a treat! :D

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82

Sipdown! (6 | 458)

Wow, this seems to be quite a polarizing tea! Much lower rating than I would expect and a couple of very unfavorable notes ha ha.

I happen to really enjoy it though. The anise is probably the strongest spice, maybe that’s why it’s not well-liked. But there’s some cardamom and clove as well, and a nice sweet warmth from the cinnamon. The Darjeeling base is delightfully bready but not too thick or heavy. It somehow ends up being a somewhat light tea despite all the spices.

Anyway, I quite like it. I probably won’t reorder it though, just because the price is somewhat high ($17 / 57g) and I don’t love it enough to justify that. National Parks Dept., however, is a different story… ;)

Flavors: Anise, Bread, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Malt, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Crowkettle

A lot of that was because I was mean enough to send some to Sil, lol XD (Sorry, Sil).

Never made a note for this tea myself, but I recall it being alright. Like you, I’d rather go for National Parks Dept. (or White Wolf) if I’m paying Bellocq prices.

Cameron B.

I liked White Wolf too! But man, that National Parks Dept. is something else…

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82

Home – 7:30 PM

Another (highly overpriced) blend from Bellocq.

This is quite good though. The base tea is thick, malty, and bready. I was surprised to learn that it’s a Darjeeling. The spicing is nice, and it complements the base tea as opposed to lying on top of it. I would guess a combination of clove, cardamom, and fennel or anise. There’s a very subtle floral note, I’m not sure I would know that it’s rose. I don’t really get any vanilla, but it could be the age of the tea.

Tasty, but definitely not worth the price!

Flavors: Anise, Bread, Cardamom, Clove, Fennel, Floral, Malt, Smooth, Thick

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
ashmanra

Good to know. I have been looking at their site trying to pick something new to try. I am intrigued by National Parks, and I looked at this one but I am a bit tired of Christmas bkends that are orange, clove, and cinnamon. I have enjoyed the cherry and almond or vanilla Christmas teas I have tried. Orange without cinnamon and clove appeals to me, also. I love their Ashmanra Afternoon for when I want something caffeine free, and while it is expensive, at least it is all supposed to be organic and ethically sourced,

Cameron B.

Rofl “Ashmanra Afternoon”, I love that. :P

The blends I’ve most enjoyed from Bellocq are National Parks Dept. and The White Wolf.

ashmanra

I guess autocorrect changed it! It is actually Ashram Afternoon! Ha ha! But Ashmanra Afternoon works, too,

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95

My second-oldest tea, from December of 2016!

I love this one, and it’ll definitely go straight onto the reorder list when I finish it off. Such a lovely combination of malty black tea, toasty and subtly smoky hoji-kukicha, and softly evergreen cedar tips. I’m also getting a touch of dark fruitiness this time, I assume from the juniper. There are also some gentle honey notes.

Sorry for neglecting you, poor delicious tea! I’m thankful to be sipping on this while it still has plenty of flavor left, even though it’s four years old.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CJUfF9cgEau/

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Berry, Honey, Malt, Pine, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
derk

I am interested in trying this if in the future you’d like to split an order. This and I think it’s White Wolf? And maybe Gypsy Caravan.

amandastory516

This sounds delicious!

Mastress Alita

I’d split this with you any day, Derk. I have a serious lack of piney tea.

Cameron B.

Of course, always happy to split things! :)

Tiffany :)

I’d love to try this one as well!!

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95

Pulled this one out today after seeing a note from amandastory516 for a similar tea. I admit to not having the highest of hopes, due to this being somewhat old, though it turns out it’s only two years old which I wouldn’t consider to be that bad…

This tea always makes me chuckle a little bit when I’m scooping it into the steeping basket, because it literally looks like I picked up whatever was on the forest floor and put it into my cup. There are giant cedar tips and big twigs, along with juniper berries. The black tea seems a small volume by comparison, so I used more tea than I generally would for my 12-ounce mug.

I am so happily surprised to find that this still has plenty of flavor left, and a very pleasing woodsy flavor at that. The base tea is a little bit astringent, and I think it’s likely an Assam based on the flavor profile. But mostly here it provides body and a nice base for the added ingredients. I get the light roasty autumn leaf note from the twig kukicha. The cedar tips have such a nice evergreen flavor, but also a light aromatic woody note like one would expect from cedar or sandalwood. I’m not sure whether I get juniper? It’s hard to say since it has a bit of a piney flavor to it as well. There’s a lovely cooling sensation as I exhale.

So happy this is still viable, especially given the price… But honestly I would order it again because it’s such a unique tea. And it’s perfect for autumn and winter with its lovely, slightly toasty woodsy notes! This is one of the few teas that really takes me away to a different place as I sip.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Earth, Forest Floor, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Resin, Roasted, Tannic, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Courtney

This one sounds super interesting! And no smoke! Yay!

Cameron B.

I don’t get smoke, but some others did report it, so no promises. ;)

Courtney

Even so, adding it to the wishlist for now!

Cameron B.

I’ll be sure to send you some so you can do a “smoke test”… (har har har)

Courtney

Hahah! I find smoke in teas that nobody else does. Sometimes I think my body manufactures it somehow XD.

ashmanra

This one has long intrigued me. I will probably try it someday. Bellocq prices aren’t TOO bad unless you get the tin!

Cameron B.

@ashmanra – I don’t mind sharing the wealth! At $9 per ounce, I think of it as being Whispering Pines equivalent in terms of price.

Martin Bednář

It jumped to my wishlist as well. I wish having some Czech vendors doing those “crazy” blends. Maybe I shall pick up my dream of owning a tea house again? Haha!

ashmanra

Cameron – Oof! That is a bit steep, isn’t it? I guess I have some of the cheaper ones from Bellocq, or just didn’t remember the price. I got some as a Christmas gift two years ago, too, so I really don’t know how much those were.

I have purchased a few things like the Sanctuary Candle, the brass strainer basket…I love those. I do always wait for a really good coupon! Almost Black Friday!

I would love a sample sometime but no rush! Stay safe!

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95

Home – 5:00 PM

This is a beautiful tea – big pieces of cedar, twigs, juniper berries, and pretty blue cornflowers mixed in with black tea leaves. It really does look like the forest floor.

It tastes like the forest floor too, in the best possible way. The black tea here is strong and malty, and a bit brisk. There’s also a nice roasted flavor, I’m not sure whether that’s coming from the cedar or the stems. I’m not sure that I can taste juniper, but the cedar is a nice accompaniment.

I will say I’m surprised at how astringent this came out, especially since it’s not bitter. I wonder if the astringency is coming from something other than the tea itself?

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Forest Floor, Malt, Roasted, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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72

Work – 2:00 PM

Bellocq is one of those websites that pulls you in with its lovely photography and carefully curated collection of blends. I’m not sure that any of their teas are really that great (and a lot of them have rose and/or lavender, which are both no-nos for me). Although to be fair, I do really enjoy their National Parks Dept. and White Wolf teas, and they are somewhat unique blends. But their teas are also quite expensive.

This one is a fairly standard Moroccan Mint blend – gunpowder green tea with mint. Supposedly there is citrus essence here as well, though I’m not sure I pick up on that. The gunpowder green tea is earthy and a bit smoky, with a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. The mint tastes to me like a combination of peppermint and spearmint? I get the herbaceous, almost musky taste of dried peppermint through most of the sip. Then at the end, I get a hit of chewing-gum-like spearmint. Or maybe I’m just imagining it!

It’s tasty enough but certainly not worth the premium price. And next time I may ignore their directions and steep this at 175° to reduce the bitterness.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Earth, Peppermint, Smoke, Spearmint

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Sipdown! (40 | 170)

Another of my oldest teas done! So nice to finish these off, and this was my only remaining tea from 2016, so now everything is from 2017 or later (lol, as if that’s saying something…).

I don’t think this one has held up quite as well as National Parks Dept. The anise in particular is quite muted, more so than I think it was originally.

But this is still a very pleasant cuppa – light and fluffy as a cloud with a touch of creamy vanilla and gently refreshing spearmint and evergreen notes. The bai mudan base is perfect, equally soft and airy with a mellow hay and oats flavor.

Yummy. Another one that I would consider reordering from Bellocq in the future!

Flavors: Creamy, Evergreen, Grain, Hay, Mint, Oats, Smooth, Spearmint, Thick, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Shae

White teas to me always taste like lukewarm water, but you make this one sound so nice. I wish I could figure out the secret to loving white teas – these flavors sound lovely together.

Cameron B.

It can definitely be light in flavor! I usually overleaf white teas a bit as well, compared to other types.

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85

This is another one from my oldest teas sipdown box! It’s also from December 2016. (gulp) I’m new to this way of prioritizing sipdowns, and honestly it’s so nice that these first few are teas that I really like and just didn’t drink often enough. It feels meant to be! :3

Anyway, I really like this one. It’s a very light tea, and I’m sure its age hasn’t done any favors to the strength of flavor here, but it’s so relaxing and yummy. The white tea is perfectly soft, airy, and creamy with tasty oat, grain, and hay notes. I’m not sure if I’m tasting the vanilla or if it’s just the creaminess of the base. The mint and cedar are both here, but subtle enough that they just add a touch of crisp and cool menthol and evergreen flavor. I think I can taste a hint of anise, but I’m not sure whether I got any in my scoop. Next time I’ll pay closer attention to make sure I’m getting all of the ingredients.

I still love this one. The medley of soft and slightly sweet flavors combined with a thick and silky mouthfeel make this such a lovely evening tea. I’ll have to add Bellocq to the list of places to order from in the future, I’ve only tried a few of their teas and they’ve been so unique and delicious.

Flavors: Anise, Creamy, Grain, Hay, Mint, Oats, Pine, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet, Thick, Wood

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Tiffany :)

Hmm, this tasting note popped up on my steepster dashboard and I think I have this tea from fall 2019 trip to Toronto? Since I’ve been buying tea since 2016 it will be awhile before I get to the teas from that trip. But makes me eager when I get there.

tea-sipper

Yep, was doing some sipdown organizing today, inspired by you, Cameron. :D

Cameron B.

Awwww! VariaTEA is the one to thank! :D

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85

Home – 4:00 PM

Ahhhh, relaxing on the couch with a nice afternoon tea… What a lovely end to the weekend. ❤

I think I may have underleafed this a bit (I was afraid of overleafing), but it’s still perfectly nice. The base tea is smooth and creamy with classic soft hay notes. The mint and anise are a lovely pairing, adding sweetness and light mint notes with a bit of spice around the edges. As for the mint – there are the both fresher, crisper notes suggesting spearmint, and the more herbaceous tones characteristic of peppermint. There is a bright, refreshing mint aftertaste that lingers for a moment on the tongue.

This is a light and subtle tea, suitable for quiet contemplation in the afternoon.

Flavors: Anise, Creamy, Hay, Peppermint, Round, Spearmint, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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