Sample package label:
“Our Traditional blend of organic and biodynamic fair trade black tea. This provides a superior organic black tea creating a robust flavor perfect for beginning the day. Brews a smooth malty cup with a clean finish. Ingredients: Organic Black Tea. Steep 3 – 5 minutes.”

I did not read The Tea Merchant’s website marketing description of this tea prior to tasting.

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled, left to stand so only steaming hot
1 rounded Tevanna teaspoon

This tea has a fresh clean smell that reminds me of something more than just tea. But what is it?
Vibrant reddish hue

First Infusion:
3-min: Smooth but light-bodied with a clean finish. I then steeped it an additional 2-min.
5-min: Smooth & medium bodied, with light floral/fruity notes and a clean finish. At this point I can’t identify the floral/fruity notes. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

2nd 5-min Infusion:
Lighter than the first infusion, but still very enjoyable. I debated whether to try a 2nd infusion. However, I’m glad I did.

First Impression: I typically think of English Breakfast Tea as a strong, full-bodied, wake up breakfast tea. While I am now more alert, I find myself craving something more full-bodied. Perhaps this truly enjoyable tea deserves a new name that better describes its character.

2nd Cup:
First 5-min Infusion:
Prepared as above, but with a heaping Tevanna teaspoon. Now we’re talking – much more robust! This definitely is English Breakfast Tea! Best of all, there is still zero hint of bitterness or astringency. My teacup was empty before I knew it. Well done!! Time for a …

2nd 5-min Infusion:
As you would expect, the heaping teaspoon also improved this infusion – definitely more full-bodied, but of course not as much as the first infusion of the 2nd cup.

Final thoughts: Thanks to The Tea Merchant for providing this generous size free sample. It’s a good thing that Joey Landford provided enough tea for more than one cup! I would urge The Tea Merchant to specify a heaping teaspoon on their packaging since they describe this tea as providing a “robust flavor perfect for beginning the day”. Such information may prevent tea drinkers from forming a less than favorable first impression of this excellent tea.

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Bio

My wife & I are passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, thick & creamy smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs). Currently, our focus is on ripe pu-erh teas.

We especially enjoy teas with a mildly-sweet rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to bittersweet cocoa.

Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are greatly appreciated. Many people drink tea for the anti-oxidant health benefits. So why would health conscious tea lovers drink tea that contains pesticide residues?

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Our recent orders have been from: Yunnan Sourcing, Crimson Lotus, Little Red Cup, Berylleb (ebay), King Tea, White 2 Tea, Tao Tea Leaf, Whispering Pines, Yezi, TeaVivre, What-Cha, Mandala, Zen Tea Life, Arbor Teas, Verdant, Grandness (Aliexpress). Kudos to them as they have all been extremely helpful.

Our cupboard doesn’t include the many greatly appreciated samples generously provided by Steepsters’s favorite tea suppliers and by several very kind Steepster members.

Current Gogng Fu Brewing Method:
10-15g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 5s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 15 / 30 / 60 /120. Every two steeps combined in a sharing pitcher.

RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Digital variable-temp electric kettle and a tempered 6 oz. gaiwan:
http://steepster.com/teaware/bonavita/39130-1-liter-variable-temperature-digital-electric-gooseneck-kettle
https://steepster.com/teaware/butiki-teas/39240-flower-gaiwan
https://steepster.com/teaware/shanghaistory/75184-double-wall-clear-glass-cha-hai-tea-pitcher-200ml
http://steepster.com/teaware/shanghaistory/75183-sonsitai-sst-082-ss-fine-mesh-tea-strainer
http://steepster.com/teas/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en
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Update 10/27/17:
Today, I sanitized our RO system and replaced all the filters (routine RO system maintenance). We upgraded from the Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter to the Zaria Everest Alkaline Water Filter:
https://steepster.com/teaware/zaria/68637-everest-alkaline-water-filter
The major difference is the Zaria Everest is NSA-certified, the Puregen is not.
-———————————
Options:
- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, a winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.

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Mid-Atlantic, USA

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