You know those brownies with the sprinkles and tarry fudge on top that everyone remembers as good only because nostalgia clouds their memories? Yeah, this smells exactly like that in the bag. A bad omen. It smells sort of less like late 90s after school playdates as steam. And the color is pretty. This is unfortunately the nicest thing I can say about this teabag.
By the end of brewing, this stuff smelled passably like hot cocoa mix, and I was expecting it to be alright, like I wouldn’t grimace if someone handed me a whole box.
It ain’t alright. There’s a muddy black tea taste at the front of the tongue, which a smear of chalky chocolate rapidly paints over. I don’t know how this is supposed to taste like white chocolate whatsoever; there’s none of that creamy sweetness. There’s a walnut ghost again, which I now think is the cocoa husk’s huskiness. The aftertaste is of coffee.
It is not what I want out of tea, or cocoa, or coffee. It’s a sadder hallway for the walnut ghost to haunt and nothing better at all.

Flavors: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Dirt, Walnut

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Getting back into tea after a hiatus of a few years, thanks to some friends. Aside from tea, I enjoy zoology, fish and orchid keeping, writing and the odd bit of art.

My ranking criteria:
100: Floors me. Something I can drink over and over again without it ever becoming routine. Things I’d buy again without hesitation after running out.
90-95: Impressive, very solid. Something I’ll drink more than once, although I might not always drink it while paying attention. Things well worth buying again when the mood strikes me but not things I always pine for when out of them.
80-85: Good, enjoyable to drink casually but still interesting enough to have a meditative session with. I don’t really care to utilize anything I like less as a daily drinker. I’ll rebuy these if I find myself missing them but don’t always miss them.
70-75: Nothing wrong with them, but they don’t really hold my attention long. I don’t rebuy these when I run out of them, though I might look for a ‘better’ version if I felt they had merit that could be brought more to the fore. I usually reserve them for times when I want my tea but will be too distracted to notice anything fine.
60-65: Okay. Not repulsive or extremely disappointing, but nothing special. Things I’ll drink if I don’t have to pay for them. They don’t inspire my feelings towards either pole.
50-55: Has some flaws, usually limited to disagreeable dry smell or lack of complexity. Still drinkable, but does not clear the bar. Did not upset me.
40-45: Committed the unforgivable sin of grabbing my interest and then letting me down. Bland, one or two note teas. Not bad tasting so much as boring. I’m much more likely to score an unimpressive tea here than an unmemorable tisane, which usually land a category higher due to my lack of emotional investment in them.
30-35: Bad notes on the tongue that can’t be overlooked, or a funky order that throws everything off. At some point I consider putting it down the drain, especially if they’re tisanes.
20-25: Probably would score a notch or two higher if they succeeded in avoiding my scorn, but for whatever reason, they’ve bothered me. Not expressly terrible but drew my ire.
10-15: Major flaws. Gross.
1: Wretched, miserable sinful waste of vegetation. Major flaws and it made me angry.


Massachusetts, USA

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