34 Tasting Notes
For my third cupping of this tea, I reduced the temperature as well as the steep time. This brought out a pleasant smokiness in the flavor, but seemed to leave the overall flavor underdeveloped. Having run through my entire sample of the tea, at this point, I still feel that there is potential in this tea that I have not fully explored, so I will probably purchase another sample in order to continue attempting to bring out its full characteristics.
Upton included a free sample of this with an order that was given to me as a Christmas gift. As others who have reviewed it have noted, the strong scent and dark color of this tea left me surprised at its mild flavor. For me, that was a good thing—I’m not a big fan of strong black teas. Nonetheless, although it was enjoyable enough, there was nothing about this tea that would compel me to want to buy it. In the past, I have been able to significantly improve my ratings of some black teas by adjusting steeping time and/or temperature. In this particular case, I feel like I hit a decent balance in the first steeping, and there’s probably not much I can do to extract more flavor without making the result overly astringent.
In keeping with Upton’s tendency to undershoot with their steeping time recommendations, an extra 15 seconds of steeping really brought out the incredible flavor of this tea, earning it the highest score I have ever given any tea here on Steepster!
I was thrilled to receive a 250g packet of this tea for Christmas. I originally tasted this tea when I was in college as part of a winter sampler, and I immediately fell in love with it. A friend of mine (who introduced me to tea) was so impressed with this tea that he made it a special exception to his policy of not drinking blended teas.
This cup was slightly underinfused, if anything, but still absolutely wonderful. Next time, I’ll increase the steeping time to 4:15.