Extra Strong

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Style:Black Tea
Product page:Extra Strong

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Reviewer pic81 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
(379 reviews) on

Typhoo hard-sells to appreciators of strong tea with what appears to be their newest offering, straightforwardly titled Extra Strong, with this verbiage on the side of the package: "The most hardcore quality teas from estates in India and Africa, wrestled from the plant and blended together. Deep. Bold. Strong. That's the power of tea." With language like that, one reasonably surmises that their marketing consultants appeal to an unpretentiously macho subset of clientele. In my case, it worked. :-)

As for value, that helped in the purchasing decision too. This came in an 80-ct box from Cost Plus World Market—usually a pricey place (I often call it Cost Plus Plus Plus). However, even there, this was quite economical at about 8¢/bag, including tax. Of course, the risk of buying an unfamiliar tea at volume is that one is stuck with a bunch of it if the quality stinks. Fortunately this was about as advertised.

Given all of the above, I didn't expect any delicately nuanced tea that tiptoes all over itself, but instead, an aggressive, face-smackingly strong black tea that doesn't yield an inch. For the most part, that's this. The tea bags are disc-shaped, tagless pouches stacked like Pringles chips in two silvery plastic foil containers, 40 per. Dry-bag aroma, both wafting out of the newly opened bulk wrappers and inhaling through a single bag, was sharp, not super-intense, but unmistakable of black tea with a good kick. So were the wet bag, and in-cup scents. Both in smell and taste, it reminds me a lot of some Irish Breakfast blends I've had from Ireland. The tea is very tannin-dense, with cup brewing dark quickly, as can be expected from a strong, finely chopped tea. My white ceramic spoon disappeared about 2 inches into the liquid when I fished out the bag.

The flavor isn't the most intense black tea I've had, but sits satisfyingly in the upper quartile, and isn't more than moderately bitter if steeped 3–4 minutes as recommended. [Drag it out to 5–6 minutes or more, and the bitterness can get unpleasant.] It's also noticeably, yet tolerably astringent, and suitably thick-bodied. So did I pick up on any subtleties? Remarkably for a big oaf like me...yes! The dry-bag aroma also hinted at wintergreen, while the flavor was somewhat woody or nutty. The aftertaste came across as a little fruity (mixed, like a fruit punch). Otherwise, this is just a solid, robust, dependable, daily black tea. I'll be finishing the box in entirety.

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