Review of Red-Tailed Hawk

8 of 105 of 53 of 580 of 100

Sampled at the Philadelphia Coffee and Tea Expo, but I took some home too to brew up.

I feel like the bar is set pretty high, with this tea's name. I'm a birder, and the Red-tailed hawk is a pretty badass bird. But it's also a rather common bird--now that I'm good at spotting birds, in a typical 1 hour trip on the highway, I see 2 or 3 of them, even without actively looking for them. After trying this tea, I think it lives up to the name: it's strong, but something I wouldn't tire of drinking every day.

The dry leaf has a powerful and very pleasing aroma. It smells like the black tea blends my family used to drink when I was growing up, a rich, complex aroma that has a lot going on and smells almost floral.

Brews up a rich, dark cup that has a balance of warming and cooling qualities. The aroma has hints of muscatel grape I associate with Darjeelings, as well as the malty qualities I associate with Assam, and the total effect is a full-bodied, strong cup that suggests floral notes in the aroma. Good amount of bitterness and astringency, enough to make it taste strong, but not too much. As much as I love Darjeelings, I sometimes tire of them if I drink only them; this tea seems to balance the Darjeeling with a tea that makes up for whatever I'm wanting that it's lacking.

I liked brewing 3 minutes but this tea is smooth enough that it can take 5 or more if you want it strong. Starting with 3 minutes, I was able to steep a second cup, and it was pleasant, but thinner.

Not quite as exceptional as the Spring Keemun, this was still a top-quality tea. I'm not usually this impressed with blends.

Oh, and if you haven't done so, go to the Andrews & Dunham website and read the essay about the red-tailed hawk, and yes, it's an all-out essay on the description for this tea; there are some gems in there!

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