The dry leaf looks just as good as in the photo …. generously studded with golden tips. I used 2 tsp of this to 12 ounces of water, steeped 5 min, for a very effective wake-up potion. Long before any caffeine effect, the brisk, piquant flavor had focused my attention. If it weren’t for the full body and plenty of malty sweetness, the bitter kick would have been overwhelming. It was a perfect foil for buttery biscuits and sweet jam. Later, I made a second mug quite sweet and milky for sipping solo. This is a good example of distinctive “Assam black” qualities, and the price was reasonable enough that I can make some sample packets for my tea meetup group.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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Note: I’m open to offers to swap tea samples. If you can’t message me, just comment on one of my tea notes, and I’ll respond.

I am fascinated and deeply impressed by the artistry and skill which coaxes such an array of qualities from one species of leaf. In 2009, I founded San Antonio Tea & Herb Enthusiasts. In 2014, a move to Southern California creates both upheaval and new horizons. The best part is that now I live quite close to my son and his family.

For intimate tastings with a small gathering, I’m practicing Asian-style tea service along the lines of Chinese gongfu cha. It is a joy to share good tea!

The most recent sign of my conversion to the deeply-steeped side: I’ve turned three large file boxes into “tea humidors” for aging pu-erh cakes and bricks at 65% humidity. Remote sensors within the “pumidors” relay the temperature and humidity readings to a base station on my desk. It satisfies my scientist aspect and keeps tea pretty well, too.


Southern California, USA



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