I wrote most of this review last night, but got sidetracked by the U.S. election, for which this tea turned out to be a perfect accompaniment.

I thought a roasted Tie Guan Yin would be perfect on this rainy fall day. Thanks to Fong Mong for the sample. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the teapot, the dry leaves smell like smoke, roast, wood, caramel, and walnuts. The first steep is sweeter than I expected, with warm notes of roasted grain, caramel, wood, and a bit of char. The sip starts off sweet and then becomes roasty, returning to sweet in the aftertaste. The second steep has additional notes of honey, banana bread, and nuts. These flavours continue well into the session, with minerals and some astringency appearing around steep six. The last few steeps are all about the smoke and roast, but with enough toasted grain sweetness to make them enjoyable.

This is a very complex, satisfying Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin that I wouldn’t mind having on hand this winter.

Flavors: Bread, Caramel, Char, Grain, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Walnut, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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