This is a comparison tasting against Keemun Concerto and Jackee Muntz; see further notes here http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/36237

Darker orange-red color than Concerto, the smokiest scent. Encore tastes milder (unexpectedly) than Jackee, a little drier, but less astringent. Calmer. There’s an odd unpleasant taste to the dryness, though; very faint, but vaguely like chalk or sawdust. Encore tastes much smokier than Concerto.

The flavor of the smoke is even more prominent, in a way, against the sweet creamy backdrop of milk. I think the chalk/sawdust bit might still be there, but the milk blots out any astringency so it’s much less noticeable.

Steep 2 is sweeter, mellower, but distinctly weaker. I expected this one to hold up better to multiple steeps, given the price differential between it and Concerto, and given that it looks and tastes more like Jackee than Concerto. But no; steep 2 is drinkable, and there is still some sweet smoke, but weak.

Conclusion? I’ll drink what I have, but I would not buy more. The dry leaf and the liqueur look similar to Jackee, but the taste and durability (is that the right word for providing multiple steeps?) do not further the resemblance. I’m not enough of a smoke fan to appreciate this one as an everyday drinking tea.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA



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