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I rarely drink darjeeling, but I got this tea as a Christmas present and it is making me rethink that choice. I think my lack of interest in darjeeling because I usually don’t like black teas that much and was under the impression that darjeeling was a black tea. Marketing failure (to me at least)! The other part of the reason was that my dad used to drink Earl Grey and as a kid I, of course, didn’t like it. Then again, I HATED the first shot of Espresso I tasted when I was 9 or 10 and we all know what happened…people used to joke that I was powered by coffee in my old office, seriously. In any case, in time things change!

Wikipedia actually says that darjeeling is technically more of an oolong than a black tea because “almost all of them have incomplete oxidation.” This makes sense to me from the taste as it reminds me much more of a oxidized oolong, than a traditional black tea.

On to the tea…

It steeps up to a nice cherry-wood color with a nice (but weak) floral aroma. It has a really rich taste, but doesn’t have that Muscat wine taste and isn’t astringent at all. Instead, it’s much more like a darker oolong—nutty and velvety with very little in terms of floral notes.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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I got this tea for Christmas from a friend in the UK.

The aroma (even just in the bag) is a very strong smokiness. It is probably about as close as a vegan will get to tasting beef jerky. But in all seriousness, I dried my gloves over a campfire on New Years Eve and the next day my gloves still didn’t smell as smoky as this tea. Even though I love sitting around the campfire as much as the next guy, I was a little worried that the tea would be overwhelming and one note.

But, I was wrong! Amazingly, steeping yields a well-balanced cup of tea. There is certainly a smokiness to the tea, but there is a certain sweetness to the tea as well. The background to these flavors is a very clean tasting black tea.

Pretty great stuff.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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