After waking earlier than usual to a stressful day that ended much later than usual, I was inclined toward something that provided a sub-coffee jolt to get me through the morning after.

I pulled this tea from the cupboard and measured out 4 grams as I heated some fresh water. I didn’t have the time or energy for any clean up, so I opted for a reusable tea bag straight into the cup.

What a treat! The resulting cup was a beautiful chestnut brown with a very refreshing mouth feel. I detected a note of caramel along with a gentle blend of spices. The taste lingered well, and served to invite me to a second cup.

The next time around I ditched the thermometer and went just a tad hotter with the water – as the strands of pearls begin to stream toward the surface just off a boil. There was a slight hint of bitterness in the first cup, so I reduced the steep time to 3-minutes and added 2 drops of liquid Stevia (which is far less than a suggested serving portion).

The combination of changes delivered everything needed for a rich, flavorful cup. Formerly a heavy coffee drinker, a fuller-bodied cup really appeals to me. This tea has it.

I roast my own coffee, because too many commercial roasters think flavor somehow develops by baking the oil onto the bean at the end of the roast. I disagree. They do what they feel they must to have a consistent and significant heaviness to their coffee, and then encourage consumers to dump countless pumps, squirts and frothing matter into the cup to make it palatable. I like coffee. Like tea, every single batch from every single grower has a distinct flavor, and in the roasting, there is a “sweet spot” that brings out the best notes.

But back to the tea. Yunnan Black – High Grade from Silk Road Teas? Affordable, delicious, and absolutely worth a try.

Flavors: Caramel, Spices

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I’ve heard others refer to me as a Renaissance man. I’m more apt to describe myself in a sentence ending with “…and master of none.”

I play music. I design and build things. I love art and quirky stuff. And I have a really cool wife.

In an attempt at a more graceful aging, I entered the wonderful world of tea for its health benefits in 2017. A home roaster and seasoned coffee-ologist, I dove quickly in, gleaning knowledge from every source possible and tasting all I could afford to buy, beg or borrow. Hundreds of cups, pots, bags and blends into it, I still consider myself a neophyte Steepster.

I’ve discovered I am a huge fan of Pu-erh and Assam, and quickly warmed up to Oolong, Yunnan Blacks, Keemun, and Matcha.

I enjoy Tisanes, too. We buy herbs in bulk and blend for both benefits and taste. In that order.


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