For the past couple of days, I have been taking a break from oolongs in order to spend a little more time on both white and black teas. I’ve been drinking a white Darjeeling from the The Tao of Tea that I found to be absolutely lovely, but I have also been drinking this Ceylonese black tea. It has not impressed me nearly as much.

I tried preparing this tea several different ways. Since the results I got with each preparation did not seem all that different, I ended up sticking with the vendor’s suggested method. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 200 F water for 3 minutes. I also tried 4 and 5 minute infusions, but again, they did not seem to be much different. Even though the vendor suggests that one can get 3-4 infusions from 1 teaspoon of this tea, I did not attempt it. One infusion was enough for me. I had no interest in spending more time with this tea than I absolutely had to.

The infused liquor showed a dark, coppery amber in the glass. The nose was very mild. I was just barely able to detect slight aromas of cream, straw, herbs, lemon, leather, wood, and malt. In the mouth, I picked up fleeting sensations of cream, straw, herbs, leather, lemon, malt, toast, wood, and roasted nuts (walnut and hickory). The finish was very clipped and somewhat astringent, offering lingering impressions of toast, roasted nuts, wood, and leather.

I really did not feel like there was all that much to this tea. In terms of aroma and flavor, there is not much there. Also, I found the astringency to be a bit distracting. Furthermore, I found this tea to be very thin-bodied. I normally do not like teas that are very slight and watery in the mouth, and to me, this one is. So, when I look at this tea as a whole, I am left with a thin, bland, astringent tea that does not at all meet my expectations. I loathe giving low scores and poor write-ups, but I felt forced to do so in this instance. Based on my experience, I do not think I would feel comfortable recommending this tea to anyone.

Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Herbs, Leather, Lemon, Malt, Straw, Toast, Walnut, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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