Got this in a swap with JacquelineM. I’m currently steeping pretty much everything in Samovar’s glass oolong pot, because I’ve in love. The dry leaf is amazingly smoky, of course, the liqueur smells less so. G says it smells like rabbit food; we decided this might mean alfafa? Something grassy, anyway. It reminds me a little of puerh. The taste is a bit on the bitter side, but I think that’s my fault for over-steeping: I spilled a little water, so my ratio was more like 3oz/.5tsp. Anyway, there is a nice sweetness under the smoke. I have a suspicion this will be even better on the 2nd steep.

2nd steep (~ 5 minutes, still boiling, little more water) either smells less smoky, or I’ve adjusted to the scent. Definitely tastes sweeter, and milder, so I am well pleased. Still a dark savory tea, though. Smokier, or saltier, or something-er than Jackee, and still fairly strong.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA



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