Another from the Regional Group Buy. This is the January 2016 harvest.

Although I gave this a fairly conservative steep time, it’s surprisingly bitter and smoky even from first sip. Although smoky perhaps isn’t too unusual in flavour terms for a strong black, I found it quite jarringly unexpected. I imagine that has more to do with the other teas I’ve been drinking today that anything else, though.

Once I got myself acclimatised, I actually enjoyed it more than I expected to. I’m not the greatest fan of smoky tea, but here it works well with the backbone of malt and the degree of substance this one seems to have. It’s hard to know how to put that into words, but it comes across to me as a “heavy” tea, with thick flavours that would almost give it weight if such a thing were possible. It’s not a tea of the light and refreshing summer-day variety.

That being said, it’s not overpowering either. It’s a smoky-savoury black with a touch of background sweetness. The sweetness becomes more apparent as it cools, just as the smokiness begins to fade into the background. It’s certainly more complex than some straight blacks I’ve tried recently; a tea that requires thought more than mindless sipping. It wouldn’t be an everyday tea for me, but it’s certainly an interesting one and more unusual than most.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

People who liked this

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer