Review of Library Blend Tea Bags

8 of 105 of 55 of 586 of 100

Murchie's touts Library Blend as the ideal tea to sip while reading a good book—hence the name. Instead I chugged three of several cups so far while watching a live-streamed volcanic eruption. Does that violate the "spirit" of the brand? ;-)

Library is a green-black mix, one of quite a large inventory of such blends sold by Murchie's. This one contains Ceylon, Keemun, Jasmine green, and Gunpowder styles. As such, it's more complex than the similar (and quite good!) No. 10 Blend, but not as strong. I gave it the same total rating, albeit for somewhat different reasons.

At various times within the same cup, I get some of the passing smooth flavor of a well-grown black tea, a little of the grassy/mossy/vegetal character of a good green, a tolerable level of astringency, a mild but definite jasmine taste and aroma at all times, and even with extended steeping, not much bitterness. This would be a good experience for fanciers of delicate tea, I suspect, if steeped on the short end. But when steeped long, it doesn't make you regret that.

Normally I do prefer more potent teas. However, I'll give this blend high marks for its excellent taste, flavor balance, and its forgiveness of steeping mistakes by the chugger. Let me elaborate on the latter. Because this isn't a very intense nor thickly bodied tea, I steeped it several minutes once on purpose after the more-normally brewed (for a green/black blend) first cup. There was almost no difference. Another time, I got distracted, accidentally left the bag in for 15 minutes or more, and had to reheat the cup. I thought that would ruin it, make it taste like bitter cough medicine or some such...but hardly! It was much the same, still. So yes, this is a very forgiving tea.

The dry-bag aroma is quite pleasing: a grassy/jasmine mix that is neither weak nor overbearing, but steady. The wet bag loses some (not all) of the jasmine, and offers a more algal or mossy scent, but again, mildly so, not offputting.

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