|"My favorite black tea blends are often those that are malty yet not super astringent, so that quality in this is scoring huge bonus points with me."|
I have eye-balled this tea at Teavana several times, but never purchased it. I do like these chocolaty black teas that do not actually have some sort of flavoring added to them, but are still essentially 'flavored'---only naturally. This tea is rolled into balls similar to jasmine dragon pearls except these are definitely larger and look like big brown eyeballs or something less pleasant. Just saying.
I followed Teavana's brewing instructions carefully and infused a teaspoon of these (4 balls) in water that was cut short of boiling and only for about 3.5 min. With hindsight being 20/20 and having observed the amount of tea that these unfurled into, I would only use 3 balls next time. This is a very robust blend. Because of the description and my insatiable sweet tooth, I am initially searching for the chocolate. It is there, but not as strong as I expected. What is more noticeable to me is the maltiness of the tea. I LOVE malty black tea. My favorite black tea blends are often those that are malty yet not super astringent, so that quality in this is scoring huge bonus points with me. This is relatively smooth and offers a touch of astringency---just enough to make it interesting.
My second infusion was actually just as good as the first. I had been concerned that the maltiness or chocolate undertones might be lost in the second infusion, but really not so. This infusion was not much different at all and I suspect that this will hold up for at least 2 more infusions (though I am stopping here as I seldom like more than 2 cups of anything in a row).
Despite the hefty price tag ($15 for 2 oz), I think this is a great blend. Further, when you start considering all the infusions that you can get out of this, it becomes fairly economical. I found this tea to be brisk, malty, robust, smooth, invigorating, and let us not forget the chocolate undertones. Overall, I really enjoyed this cup and this is one that I intend to enjoy in the future.
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