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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1378 teas.

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Picture of Taiwan Lapsang Souchong Black Tea

Taiwan Lapsang Souchong Black Tea from Organic Herbie

Style: Lapsang Souchong – Region: Nantou, Taiwan

17 / 100 Aroma: 2/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 1/5
Nov. 14th, 2018

This tea sorely disappointed me and left me feeling sad and empty. I thought from the description that I was going to like it, but the description was somewhere between severely misleading and blatantly wrong. Thank you to Organic Herbie for the free sample. But PLEASE, update the description for this tea because it is...

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Picture of Organic Sweet Colombian Black Tea (Wiry 2)

Organic Sweet Colombian Black Tea (Wiry 2) from Simpson & Vail

Style: Black Tea – Region: Colombia

98 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Nov. 8th, 2018

Yet another Colombian tea from the Bitaco estate. Thank you Simpson & Vail for the samples! It's been exciting how many of these I've been able to try lately, and I love every one. They are only subtly different, but I am still able to appreciate the differences. This one, as the name suggests, was the sweetest one I'v...

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Picture of Kenya Kosabei TGFOP Tea

Kenya Kosabei TGFOP Tea from Organic Herbie

Style: Black Tea – Region: Nandi, Kenya

76 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Nov. 5th, 2018

A good "sipping" tea that I found I enjoyed most when I drank slowly. This tea had some characteristics of a Ceylon and some of a Darjeeling. I found it slightly tricky to brew. I liked its aroma, but could be a bit thin-bodied and bitter. Thank you to Organic Herbie for the free sample!

Dry leaf, which has a fine, ...

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Picture of Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail

Style: Black Tea – Region: Nepal

99 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Oct. 31st, 2018

Without a doubt my favorite tea I've ever tried from Nepal. A singular tea with an intoxicating floral fragrance and an ethereal quality overall. Another sample from Simpson & Vail, thank you, and apologies for taking so long to post this one!

This tea was fascinating: visually, the leaf looks more like a Chinese te...

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Picture of Almond Oolong

Almond Oolong from Adagio Teas

Style: Flavored Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

72 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Oct. 26th, 2018

Thank you to my friend Joe for giving me this sample!

The aroma of the dry leaf is intense and intoxicating, an intense fragrance of marzipan or sweeet almond, like stinging your nose in a bottle of amaretto or almond extract. It's pretty much all flavoring; I can't discern any qualities of the underlying tea from t...

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Picture of Darjeeling, Puttabong Estate, 1st Flush

Darjeeling, Puttabong Estate, 1st Flush from Simpson & Vail

Style: Darjeeling First Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

84 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Oct. 25th, 2018

A tricky-to-brew tea that reminded me a lot of green oolongs from Taiwan, and required a lower water temperature to brew to satisfaction.

The dry leaf, quite broken, is an intense green color, like a lot of good Darjeeling first flush. It looks exactly like pictured in the company photo (I appreciate honest photogra...

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Picture of Teng Chong Hui Long Zhai Yunnan Green Tea

Teng Chong Hui Long Zhai Yunnan Green Tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Style: Green Tea – Region: Tengchong, Yunnan, China

85 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Oct. 23rd, 2018

A bold-flavored green tea producing a pale-colored cup with a brisk character. Very enjoyable and easy to brew and drink.

The dry leaf has a tightly curled appearance, a lot like Bi Luo Chun but more irregular. It's very fragrant and strong, grassy and somewhat smoky, with a hint of bready qualities. The smell sugge...

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Picture of Nilgiri Korakundah Estate - Organic FOP/FBOP

Nilgiri Korakundah Estate - Organic FOP/FBOP from Simpson & Vail

Style: Black Tea – Region: Nilgiri, India

71 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 4/5
Oct. 16th, 2018

A beautifully aromatic tea that a strong bitterness and thin body. I found it tricky to brew to satisfaction. I have now sampled three teas from Korakundah estate, and I find they are all a bit like this, although I think this was by far my favorite of the three. Thank you to Simpson & Vail for the free sample!

The ...

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Picture of Da Hu Sai Village Wild Arbor Black Tea of Yunnan Spring 2018

Da Hu Sai Village Wild Arbor Black Tea of Yunnan Spring 2018 from Yunnan Sourcing

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Shuangjiang, Yunnan, China

92 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Oct. 8th, 2018

This is one of those really dangerous teas...very caffeinated but incredibly mild and smooth tasting, so it is very easy to brew it too strongly and get uncomfortably wired.

Dry leaf has a potent and very pleasing aroma: strongly malty with cocoa notes, and a faint hint of smoke and vegetal notes. Contrasting with t...

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Picture of Jingmai Mountain Wild Arbor Black Tea of Spring 2018

Jingmai Mountain Wild Arbor Black Tea of Spring 2018 from Yunnan Sourcing

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Lancang, Yunnan, China

100 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Oct. 5th, 2018

Wow! Exceptional!!!

I've tried a lot of teas from Yunnan Sourcing over the years but have never ordered nor have I reviewed any of them; they were always just served to me by others, often aged Pu-erhs. I finally ordered some of my own and I am super impressed with every one. This is my favorite one of the batch.

...

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Picture of Black Tea Bar (Loose-leaf)

Black Tea Bar (Loose-leaf) from Ten Ren Tea

Style: Black Tea – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

89 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 21st, 2018

I bought this at the H-Mart in Metuchen, NJ. The label didn't give me much of an idea of what to expect; all I knew was that it was Taiwan-grown black tea and was inexpensive. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this quickly became one of my favorite teas for daily drinking. I highly recommend it and would gladly b...

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Picture of Buket Black Tea

Buket Black Tea from Azercay (Azerçay)

Style: Black Tea – Region: Russia

88 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 13th, 2018

I have been wanting to try Russian tea for some time, and this is the first one I have sampled, and it exceeded my expectations!

Thank you to my friend Olga who brought this back for me! This brand sells tea both from Azerbaijan and Russia, but this batch was produced in Russia, according to the box, by Kuban Tea (u...

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Picture of Green Tea (Ato-bi process)

Green Tea (Ato-bi process) from ITO EN

Style: Green Tea – Region: Japan

79 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
May. 23rd, 2018

This was quite a discovery. I purchased this at a Chinese market in Edison, NJ. I was surprised to see a Japanese tea for sale, but I grabbed it because I saw D. Gray had reviewed it and was eager to try it. I wasn't disappointed!

The dry leaf is a rich, yellow-green color, and pleasantly aromatic, smelling sweet an...

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Picture of Ramanugger Estate FTGFOP1 Organic

Ramanugger Estate FTGFOP1 Organic from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Assam – Region: Karbi Anglong, Assam, India

74 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
May. 21st, 2018

I specifically sought this tea out because it was from a region of Assam that is a little higher-altitude, and from where I hadn't previously tried any teas. Interestingly, it did taste a little more like a Darjeeling and other high-grown Himalayan region teas. Although I thought it was a very good tea, I liked it less...

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Picture of Season's Pick Colombian Leafy Black Tea Organic

Season's Pick Colombian Leafy Black Tea Organic from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Black Tea – Region: Colombia

95 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
May. 17th, 2018

Another exquisite tea from the Bitaco estate in Columbia! This was a smooth black tea that tasted top-quality, but was a bit weak on the resteep. Tastes better when brewed strongly. I served this tea to two different people as well and they both loved it.

I've been trying different grades and batches or variants of ...

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Picture of Nandi Royal GFBOP Black Tea

Nandi Royal GFBOP Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Black Tea – Region: Nandi, Kenya

86 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
May. 13th, 2018

Probably the strongest tea I have had in a long time. I loved this one. It's not for the faint of heart, though!

Upton's humble "Nandi Royal OP" really blew me away, so I was eager to try this. Compared to that one, this is a higher-grade broken-leaf tea, more tippy, but more broken. The price on this is slightly hi...

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Picture of Nepal Guranse Estate Organic Oolong Tea

Nepal Guranse Estate Organic Oolong Tea from Simpson & Vail

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Nepal

84 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
May. 3rd, 2018

A good tea that resembled Darjeeling first flush teas and probably would have convinced me it was a "black" tea if it had not been labeled as an oolong. It's more like a Himalayan black tea that had something different or unusual about it. Not what I expected; it was nothing like Chinese oolongs, nor like Darjeeling oo...

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Picture of British Blend - Premium Black Tea

British Blend - Premium Black Tea from Tetley Tea

Style: Black Tea – Region: Blend

24 / 100 Aroma: 2/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 1/5
Apr. 22nd, 2018

I was not impressed with this. I think I prefer Lipton even, and that says a lot because I am not exactly a fan of Lipton or any of these mass-produced, low-quality tea bags.

Thank you to my friend Sarah for letting me try this!

Weak aroma, only slightly malty, but there's a hint of a sort of unpleasant, fishy ar...

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Picture of Assam Nokhroy Estate Black Tea (STGSOP1)

Assam Nokhroy Estate Black Tea (STGSOP1) from Simpson & Vail

Style: Assam – Region: Tinsukia, Assam, India

91 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 17th, 2018

This was a wonderfully smooth-flavored Assam, yet with good strength and complexity, and a great price. Thank you to Simpson & Vail for this sample!

Dry leaf, which is fine, curly, and has a moderate amount of golden tip, has an interesting aroma, initially there's a slight burned quality, suggestive of candle wax, ...

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Picture of Rukeri Estate Rwanda BOP Organic

Rukeri Estate Rwanda BOP Organic from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Black Tea – Region: Rwanda

96 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 16th, 2018

This was a remarkably good tea for a low price: a strong black tea that was still quite smooth and had great aromatic complexity and depth. One of the best broken-leaf teas I've ever tried.

The dry leaf smells amazing! It's a sort of sweet bready smell with toasty notes and a hint of wintergreen. It made me excited...

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Picture of China Special Snow Dragon Green Tea

China Special Snow Dragon Green Tea from Simpson & Vail

Style: Green Tea – Region: Fuding, Fujian, China

76 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 14th, 2018

A pleasant green tea with a smooth, mild flavor that tasted a lot better when brewed more strongly. Easy to drink and I'd imagine this would appeal to a broad audience, with perhaps an exception for people who think green tea is bland or weak, because this was on the milder side.

Thank you to Simpson & Vail for the ...

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Picture of Marangi Estate TGFOP1

Marangi Estate TGFOP1 from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Assam – Region: Golaghat, Assam, India

75 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 12th, 2018

A subdued but rather strange Assam tea, muted in flavor and with a few off qualities.

This tea was kind of fascinating to review because I just tried a tea of a higher grade, from the same estate, from a different company, Simpson & Vail. I was surprised at how different the teas were. The difference of adding that ...

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Picture of China Cangyuan Yunnan Organic Black Tea

China Cangyuan Yunnan Organic Black Tea from Simpson & Vail

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Cangyuan, Yunnan, China

99 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Apr. 11th, 2018

This was an exceptional tea and one of my favorite that I've sampled in a very long time. It was somewhat like other Yunnan teas but had unique lemony notes. Thank you to Simpson & Vail for the sample! I'm excited because this one sparked me adding a new sub-region to RateTea, it's the first tea we've listed from Cang...

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Picture of Assam Marangi Estate Black Tea (FTGFOP1)

Assam Marangi Estate Black Tea (FTGFOP1) from Simpson & Vail

Style: Assam – Region: Golaghat, Assam, India

88 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 27th, 2018

This tea had a sublime combination of smoothness and depth characteristic of top-quality teas. The flavor was exceptional but the aroma a little weak and less interesting. Thank you to Simpson & Vail for the sample!

Very curly-looking leaf, beautiful, with a very large portion of orange tips (more than in the compa...

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Picture of Organic Tippy Colombian Black Tea (T2)

Organic Tippy Colombian Black Tea (T2) from Simpson & Vail

Style: Black Tea – Region: Colombia

97 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 26th, 2018

This was a light tea with a strong savory flavor, that tasted distinctly like lobster!

Another sample from Simpson & Vail, thank you! I've been loving all the black teas I've tried from the Bitaco estate in Colombia, and this is another one. They are all excellent! I'm glad to see this garden and its teas taking o...

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