Measure: 2 tsp. to 16oz water
Steeped: 3 minutes @less than boiling (180 degrees or so)
Teaware: Porcelain teapot, stoneware mugs
When I opened up the package of this tea, I expected a sweet, candy-apple fragrance. Instead, I experienced a very complex roasted caramel scent with spicy background notes. There's a hint of apple in there, but not much in the initial aroma. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in the scent, and was hoping the taste would be much different.
I'm still not sure if I like this tea or not. The flavor does indeed mimic the initial fragrance. The apple flavor is merely implied, the caramel roasted on the edge of burnt. None of the Japanese green tea flavor comes through at all, which is disappointing.
There is an intriguing spicy note to this tea that just might be it's saving grace. The brew is slightly astringent, not necessarily in a bad way. I plan on adding sugar to my next cup, possibly a little milk even and see how the caramel notes play out.
I think someone who likes slightly bitter, roasted flavors (think coffee lovers here) would probably really like this tea. As for myself, I'll give it another chance with sugar, but I don't think it will ever be a favorite.