|"What was very surprising was how neither the vanilla nor the natural malt-smoke smell of the "red" tea didn't dominate. Both projected a balanced aroma. Not the titular tiramisu, but something akin to a burnt brownie with vanilla ice cream melting atop it."|
Let's first start with the appearance. There's really not much to say. It didn't have the pyrite vibrancy of the Yunnan Gold variety. There were trace amounts of lighter-colored leaves, but some of that might've been the vanilla bean. The rest were a typical orange pekoe brown. Not bad to the eye, but a little less aesthetically pleasing than the "tip"-ed type. The vanilla aroma was definitely out in full force. I would reckon vanilla extract was used as the flavoring agent. There was a distinct impression of alcohol on the nostrils, which would support the extract theory, and give credence to the tiramisu comparison in the site's flavor profile.
To my surprise - given all the detail about the tea on the Samovar Life page - there were no brewing instructions. I chanced 8oz of 212F water per 1 tsp of the tea for four minutes; a fair median for a heavier black tea, especially a blend. I didn't want a lot, so I went for half my usual steep amount.
The liquor brewed to a muted copper. I was reminded of a transparent, well-stained ashtray my dad used to own. What was very surprising was how neither the vanilla nor the natural malt-smoke smell of the "red" tea dominated. Both projected a balanced aroma. Not the titular tiramisu, but something akin to a burnt brownie with vanilla ice cream melting atop it.
Some say that Yunnan black teas aren't supposed to have astringency, that was sadly not the case here. It was very dry on the palate, but that didn't take away from the taste. Even though there was a cottony feeling as it poured down the gullet, it did so smoothly. The other flavor elements helped. This blend also sweetened extremely well.
It was a good black tea blend. Better than some other Broken Yunnans I've had, but not as divine as the Goldens. The vanilla elements would've definitely enhanced the high-grades to a "tea".
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