This tea was brutalized in shipping. I have not had this tea before, so I cannot say whether this has affected the flavor.

This is only the 2nd Scottish Breakfast tea that I have tried-Upton’s being the first. I bought a 4 ounce pouch. The pouch is a re-sealable and made out of a plastic-y film and not foiled-lined on the inside. Not sure what teas are in this blend, but it doesn’t taste like Asssam, Ceylon, and Yunnan. Maybe just Assman and Yunnan? Keemun? The dry leaves are full and have a malty and slightly smoky aroma.

The liquor is more brown than orange in color. This flavor is malty and really peppery (black)-especially when the tea is hottest. No smokiness in the flavor, so probably no Keemun in it. It’s somewhat lively, and although not weak, definitely not “smash you in the face” strong. An acceptable first cup-but I have better options. The level of tannins is surprising low. Not bitter or astringent.

I want to note about the shipping here. The box was literally beat to hell in shipping. The top flaps of the box were peaked up almost like an A-Frame house and there was a big dent in the side. I realize that UPS/USPS etc, handle the packages and not the tea shop. However, I have placed dozens of tea orders by now and have never had a box like this show up on my door. My orders from China and Taiwan have never looked anything but great.

The packaging issue is ETS fault. The cardboard was not sturdy and the box was too big for the order. The box had only some brown kraft paper on one side for “cushioning”. This did not work at all and the pouch of this tea had a gouge in it about one-half inch deep and 1.5 inches long (although the pouch was not actually punctured). If this had been an expensive signature tea instead of a ridiculously cheap $1 an ounce blend I would have sent it back un-opened. This company has several other online businesses and I picture all their stuff at a big warehouse-not stored properly and obviously not packed by people who know and/or care about tea. This tea is okay, but not good enough to make me ever want to buy from this company again.

NB – Rating number is for the tea alone. The other issues did not factor into the number.

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Started drinking tea for health benefits maybe 5 years ago-exclusively bagged tea. Usually went for various Celestial Seasonings type of stuff. I bought a tea infuser at a gourmet shop once and then I realized there was almost no loose tea available. Eventually tiring of bags, I started ordering loose tea online and I have never gone back. Initially, I was exploring all the wild and exotic flavor combinations, but now I mostly drink straight teas. I still enjoy blended teas-but prefer those without “flavoring”. Hope to learn here and find some new teas I might not otherwise find. Am a vegan, so “milk” generally means “soymilk” to me. If it’s almond, rice, or coconut, I will mention that fact.

I am new here, and new to reviewing tea. Many of my initial reviews will be from memory and may not be very detailed at all. I hope to write more informative reviews on current and future teas.

I won’t let external factors affect my rating of the tea-such as slow shipping, too expensive, etc. I’ll mention any customer service problems in my reviews. I also won’t let my mistakes in not following the seller’s recommended parameters affect a rating. I can’t believe people who say “I forgot about it and oversteeped it” and then give it a rating. If I brew outside the parameters, I will wait until I brew it right before I give it a rating.

TEMPORARY RATING SYSTEM- Don’t hold me to these numbers and descriptions-like George Bluth, I like to tweak.

90+ It’s awesome, right?? I’ll probably try to keep it on hand.

80-89 – I really like this and will buy it again at some point, but there are so many teas to try!

70-79 – This is a pretty good tea and I may buy it again based on my mood, what tea store I am buying from, and what kind of deal I can get.

60-69 – This is okay. I finished the bag. I would drink it again if offered, but would not buy it again.

40-59 – IF I finished the bag, I recall this tea thinking “Why in the hell did I finish the bag?”

1-39 – Did not finish the bag. Maybe not even the cup. Tea was given away or discarded.



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