When I first tasted this tea, I said to myself, 'this will be a wonderful tea to drink on a cold winter afternoon!' And so it was and is. But, then, one morning after I had rearranged the order of my tins of tea in the cabinet, my husband fixed a pot of tea for me. He reached to the usual place where I kept my breakfast tea and pulled out instead this Russian Country, unbeknownst to him. Well, wonderful!!! I found out through that unintentional mistake, that this tea is simply scrumptious in the morning any time of year as well as on a cold winter afternoon. Now, I enjoy it all the time, anytime I want a real treat. I love it!!
Until now Hao Ya "B" had been my favorite tea. I had tried Lapsang Suchong and was put off by the strength of the wood fire taste and smell. Then I tried this with a spot of sugar and I was over the moon. I simply can't believe how deep and smooth this tea tastes. I don't like overly astringent teas, so this one hits me perfectly. The bit of smokiness is perfect. Just enough to be there but not totally overpowering. I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes Keemun teas and is intrigued by Lapsang Suchong.
I like single malts, smoked foods, and the smell of burning leaves, but I agree with Harney's own observation that the smoky aroma of this tea overwhelms all else. I tried blending it with a more conventional breakfast blend of Keemuns and Assams in a 1:1 ratio and the result was more palatable, but Ceylon notes were undetectable. The components of this blend should make a great breakfast brew in the right proportions, IMHO, but this tea is one that I will not buy again.
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