This is a curious blend – it smells and tastes strongly of chocolate, but it isn’t actually flavored, it’s supposedly just tea. The smell and flavor are both a mix of smooth, un-sweet dark chocolate over a base of faintly woodsy and (very faintly) smoky, but otherwise indistinct black tea.

I’m not wowed, and I don’t really see this as a breakfast blend, but it’s very drinkable, smooth and pleasant, with a nice aroma and simple flavor. When I want a tasty tea, but I don’t feel like I am in the space to properly appreciate one of my more expensive and complex single-origins, and I don’t want the morning punch of Russian Caravan, I can see myself reaching for this. The chocolate is remarkably distinct, I don’t know how they did it, but it makes this stand out above the average smooth and inoffensive blend in a major way, letting you know this was blended with care.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Her Highness Rozen Maiden No.5, Shinku, is my tea-soulmate.

I am a tea nerd. I only brew looseleaf, I keep an instant read thermometer with my stash and never, ever brew a cup without getting the water temperature I want first. I can’t stop buying teas that capture my heart, even if I have more than I could ever finish before they go stale – though I do my best to keep delicate ones sealed until I’m ready to dig in.

I rate things on a different scale than I think most people do. For me, 50 is not a bad grade, 50 is take it or leave it, I probably wouldn’t turn it down but I wouldn’t ask for it. 50 is indifference, sub-50 is dislike.

Also, I live near Lupicia SF, and can get there and back in the span of my lunch break. I’m jealous of myself.

I like just about everything, but my true loves are shincha, gyokuro, pu-erh, and lapsang souchong. Grass clippings, dirt, and campfires, mmm mm.

What I won’t touch is blasphemous grossness like candy-flavored rooibos, fruit-and-vanilla white teas, etc. – don’t even get me started.


SF Bay Area

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