The first of the teas I received from my (still anonymous until they step forward or I can decipher the worn away writing on the package) Secret Santa! The leaves are very fine and curly with a nice golden hue to them. They have a light malty aroma to them and a little bit of dried fruit.

They release their color quickly on steeping, so I’m going to limit the time to about a minute and a half for this first attempt, and start the tasting without any additives. Even with this short steep time it’s got a decent amount of astringency, so I’m glad I didn’t go too much longer. It also has a pronounced malty breadiness, almost moving into the realm of a light smokiness. I’m putting in just a little sugar and half/half to round it out and see what happens. Still quite strong, not terribly complex, but a good Monday morning cup to start the day with.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!


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