Third day of spring and it’s snowing here near Seattle. And right when my body was starting to expect the spring temperatures. I really need a warming brew today. Surprisingly, when deciding what that should be my mind didn’t go for the spiced black teas I normally reach for on a chilly day — it went straight to this. It seemed the perfect reason to use up the second half of this Reserve Club sample.

This tea embodies warmth. The second that smokey aroma starts wafting out of the cup I feel like I’m huddled around a crackling campfire. And someone is making a s’more because I can smell their burnt marshmallow melting the bar of chocolate it’s dripping over. It’s so nostalgic and warming to just smell. And it’s commandingly strong; I’m still catching whiffs of it all around the house almost 3 hours after my first brew.

At first sip this tea tastes like the smell to me — smokey. And while that’s okay it’s not something I find myself wanting to drink a lot of. But by the second and third sip that smokey taste almost immediately turns into a rich dark chocolate aftertaste. I can’t taste it when the tea is on my tongue but it comes up immediately after the sip and lingers there forever. Five minutes after my last sip I can still taste that rich dark chocolate, but as time has passed it’s become a dark chocolate spiked with citrus or berry, I can’t decide which.

I’m 7 or 8 steeps in right now and that dark chocolate flavor is still lingering there every bit as strong as it was on the first, but the first taste has mellowed from smokey to citrus (something I’m rather thankful for).

This was the perfect brew to start my chilly day off with. It’s so rich and warming. If it weren’t for the price tag on these reserve club teas I’d definitely restock this one, but alas, my budget forces me to leave it as a pleasant memory after today.

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I don’t pay too much attention to the number scores I give teas — they’re just an approximation of my feelings on them, so if you really want you know what I thought you’ll need to read the whole, longwinded tasting note.


Snohomish, WA

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