This has been my favorite tea from Upton so far. I wasn’t expecting much based on the smell of the dry leaves — very similar to the China Oolong Se Chung I had right before it. A little cardboardy and stale, if I’m honest.

But woooo… first steep was a little longer than is typical for me — maybe 15-20 seconds (how I so frequently forget to pour the tea after pouring the water is one of life’s great mysteries). But WOW, it was perfect straightaway. Cocoa right out front, with grandpa’s smoky basement fireplace right behind. Then Christmas plum pudding across the room — dark spicy dough, raisins, brandy. It was every piece of memory from that paneled Ohio basement that I could hope for.

The charcoal roast is VERY prominent, and while I appreciate a roast that disappears into the melange, this one held a really special gift and I wouldn’t want one less iota of smoke and dank than it brought me.

This explosion of nostalgia and complexity didn’t last terribly long — even by my second pour (which I think would normally have been my third, in terms of steep time) it was starting to fade. Still — some nice little cups that trickled out, and I look forward to drinking this one again. Happy to have found it.

Flavors: Allspice, Brandy, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Fireplace, Molasses, Raisins, Wet Rocks

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