This was the tea I was rummaging around for to have as a follow-up to a breakfast of a lentil/garbanzo/quinoa patty sandwich and some tater tots.
Gone full western this time. No gaiwan action with this 5g pouch. 8oz, 200F, 4 good steeps at 2/3/5/? minutes.
The dry leaf smelled strongly of tar and cedar smoke. It wasn’t so strong that it was nauseating, though In fact I really enjoyed it. I’m a weirdo and love the smell of a house being re-roofed and the laying of asphalt. I was happy I picked this because it seemed like it was going to go well with the slight smokiness and spiciness of the paprika in my veg patty. The aroma of the first steep smelled moderately of cedar smoke and wood, leather, roasted almond skins and mineral. There was also an umami presence that my olfactories said was cheese, like a tangy and sweet, buttery aged gouda. I like.
The brew started out with a tasty layer of cedar smoke enveloping mineral lemon water. It had a good, light to medium body but also some astringency in the very front of the mouth along my gums which was kind of distracting. Some light bitterness presented in the back. The aftertastes hung around with notes of smoked meat, leather, cedar and a tartness.
I sniffed the leaves after the second steep. With the cedar smoke and leather, there was also a floral note, perhaps white or yellow rose. This didn’t come through in taste in the first few steeps and was likely masked by the smoke but it did appear in the third steep.
As I progressed through the rest of the steeps, the tastes stayed roughly the same. There was an addition of roasted peanut, and as I mentioned the floral note finally came through. The lemon tartness became stronger at the top back of the mouth and on the sides of my tongue. My mouth watered, helping with the astringency. A delayed light returning sweetness also appeared.
This didn’t blow me away, but I’m not really expecting that with a smoked tea. It was comforting yet clean and refined, without the smokiness bowling me over. Good longevity, too. I think it’s worth a try if you’re looking for a higher quality smoked black tea.