Thanks to boychik for the generous sample!

I brewed this Gong Fu style and it was surprisingly good. In my little clear glass teacup the amber colored liquor was so saturated and intense it appeared to be glowing. I smelled roasted chestnuts with a hint of spearmint in the early steeps, morphing in to ruby red grapefruit, then a whiff of cinnamon in the final steep. Nutty flavor with a bit of citrus stimulating the saliva glands gave the impression of a rich, lively tea. Intense in the early steeps, but never bitter or astringent. Just a hint of pepper appeared in the middle steeps, and in the later ones the overall flavor had diminished but retained delicate notes of it’s earlier character.

I used 4.8 grams to 130 ml of water, 2 second rinse, 1 minute pause, then 10 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 15 / 30 / 60 seconds for the seven steeps. In the first steep the tea had not yet opened up, so next time I’ll try a 5 second rinse, 2 minute pause, then 15 / 5 / 7 / 10 / 15 / 25 / 45 second steeps.

As other reviewers have noted this is reminiscent of what we used to get in Chinese restaurants years ago, before cost cutting and thin margins dictated using something much cheaper (at least in my area). It’s not a complex tea, but it plays what few notes it does have very well. At it’s price point this is something I’d keep on hand for when I’m in the mood.

180 °F / 82 °C

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I’m fairly new to the world of fine tea, having begun my exploration in earnest in mid-2013. I had given loose tea a try a decade ago but what I chose was not to my liking and I never finished the couple of hundred grams I ordered.

I’ve spent most of my life as a coffee drinker, and have studied and practiced the art and craft of coffee roasting for the past decade. I drink coffee until about noon, at which point my palate needs a change.

This eventually led me to try good quality tea one more time. The Internet is a great resource and I got pointed in a more solid direction this time. I started at Upton Tea with mostly black teas, a Jasmine-scented green and samples of some flavors. I’ve been enjoying three or four cups a day.

Then I stopped into a tiny Chinese restaurant in rural Pennsylvania and in response to my request for hot tea the proprietor brought me her personal Pu-Erh, which had just arrived from China, in a portable Gong Fu teapot. OMG … I found something new to obsess about! She kept bringing me hot water and I did multiple steeps until I could swallow no more. My research on this tea eventually led me here.

I’m a voracious reader and can consume a book a day when I have the time. I’ve been an obsessive geek since childhood and that spills over into all areas of my life, driving me to try to attain competency in more areas than I can count, especially technical subjects. I once took “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” on vacation and my wife asked why I wasn’t reading something fun. I had no idea what she meant.

I love almost all genres of music, but am most fond of Jazz (Miles’ Blue Period, Mingus), Delta Blues (Sleepy John Estes, Son House) and 80’s British alternative rock (The Smiths, Bauhaus, The Pogues). I also followed the Grateful Dead for a short while. Yup I’m getting old, but then 50 is the new 30, right?

I hope to make some of your acquaintances, and swap both knowledge and tea.


Palm Bay, Florida

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