Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Mark T. Wendell Tea Company
Created over 15 years ago and previously sold as a private label blend for the Elizabethan Club of Yale University, we are pleased to offer this original black tea blend to our customers as our Victorian Afternoon tea blend. This vibrant blend of Indian, Sri Lankan and Formosan teas is further complemented by a slightly smoky character. It yields a dark, reddish cup with a sparkling liquor when brewed.
I am not a big fan of smoky teas. I never have been. A slight smoky note in a tea is an agreeable flavor to my palate, but when a tea possesses a very heavily smoked essence… I’m probably going to be hesitant (and that’s putting it mildly) to try it.
So when I open a package of tea and am greeted with a strong smoky aroma, I’m not really excited. Again, that’s putting it mildly.
When I opened the package of this Victorian Afternoon from Mark T. Wendell… I was not really excited. I could smell the smoke. I contemplated putting it away and not giving it a fair try.
But I didn’t do that.
Instead, I measured the tea into my smart brewing device, and heated the water. Before steeping it, I poured in some boiling water to give it a 15 second rinse, strained the tea, and then I began steeping.
“I’m going to try it before I decide I don’t like it,” I said to myself – kind of like a little pep talk. After all, isn’t that what I tell my kids? “How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never even tried it?”
The brewed liquor still smells smoky even after the rinse, but it is not an overwhelming smoky note.
Not bad! Not at all! Yes, it’s smoky, and a bit stronger than that “slight smoky note” that I mentioned previously. I actually LIKE the smoky note here. There is a burnt sugar/caramel-like taste that follows the smoky flavor, and it’s really quite delicious.
This tea is strong, sweet, and smoky. And, it’s good.
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!
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