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Baker Street Afternoon Blend

November 2, 2008

Today’s tea: Upton Tea’s Baker Street Afternoon Blend.

Infused by: goodtea

I bought a sample because a reviewer said it might be mild enough to convert non-Lapsang Souchong drinkers to the smoky tea fold. So I gave it a try.

But it’s not my cup of tea.

It tastes fine. It’s very dark, but surprisingly mild and not bitter. I like the aftertaste–it kind of lingers the way really dark chocolate does. Smoky dark chocolate.

Unfortunately, the tea smells like beef jerky. If you like beef jerky, then you might love this, but walking into the room where I’d left the cup on my desk, it felt like I was running straight into a giant wall of curing meat. Not very appetizing, necessarily. But like I said, it tastes fine–no hint of smoked beef in the actual beverage.

Someone suggested drinking it with milk, but at the moment, that idea is not very pleasing to me.

BUT! Lest you despair, I have found a way to make this tea more palatable! Some Japanese enka music came on my playlist, and suddenly, everything changed. With Misora Hibari crooning sultrily in my ear about love and death in the cold winter countryside, the dark, smoky tea suddenly didn’t seem so terrible. It tasted like something you might drink at some old wooden shack of a restaurant in the mountains, where stoic old men sit around and smoke pipes while a plump old woman serves heavy meals to bedraggled wayfarers. In that context, even the smoked meat smell is more tolerable, because it’s become separated from the tea in my mind.

But even so, not liking this tea too much.

Conclusion: Tastes alright, but has a strong smoked meat smell. Best paired with an large serving of bitter enka music to take the edge off.

UPDATE 7/2009: After letting this tea sit in the pantry a few months, it (naturally) lost some of its intensity. The smell faded, but the flavor remained, making this suddenly a quite drinkable tea. I feel bad for maligning this tea now. As I said before, it tasted fine, and now that the smell has lessened a little, I would actually recommend it.

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