First day back at work (boo!) and I really, really needed a strong, no-nonsense tea to get me going. Having said that, I’ve been here for 40 minutes now and I’m still not properly awake. Nearly two weeks of lie-ins have made the early start and the whole work thing in general really rather difficult to re-adapt to. Clearly I need to win the lottery, but until then I have this tea.

It’s a CTC, first off. Those wonderful pellets of pure strength that I often overlook when I’m feeling more normal. It brewed up super quickly to a deep red-brown, so I added a decent splash of milk and crawled back to my desk. Here I discovered that it’s strong (very strong) yet flavourful – a good combination if ever there was one. It’s malty in a very thick-tasting, almost chewable way, with some deeper molasses-like notes lurking in the background. It’s very sweet, smooth, and not as tannic as I feared. There’s a hint of caramel and baked bread towards the end of the sip (particularly as it cools), but this one is mostly all about the malt.

It’s not a tea I’d want all the time. It’s not subtle, and there are characteristics I enjoy in black tea that just aren’t present here. For a day like today, though, it’s perfect. Maybe when I wake up, I can see what else I’ve got in my drawer. Until then, this’ll do nicely.

1 tsp, 2 minutes, boiling water. Milk, lots of.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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