87

This is my favorite tea alongside some FengHuang DanCongs and I intend to always have it on hand. My little round ZhuNi pot is used for only TGYs that are really similar in both roast and oxidation to this one. I actually have a travel tin about the size and shape of a hip flask I keep in my coat with this in it.
This time around I used 5g with a descending curve on water volume (leaves steadily displace more and more through progressive infusions) starting at 125ml and down to 100ml by the 10th infusion. I kept the steep time at 30 seconds for the first 6 infusions with 83 degree C water and bumping up to 45 seconds for 7th-10th infusions. Gave a single rinse with about 15 second contact time, though first retained brew might as well have been another rinse.

Leaves are shiny dark green and mossy brown with pale yellow-green stems tinges with gold and thin reddish stripes on stems, veins, and leaf margins. Fragrance is toasty hay with a “ripe” non-fruit fruity quality like smelling cooking zucchini. When placed in my heated teapot this does take on the light fruit smell of an uncut plum or nectarine. Wet aroma always reminds me of the smell of the hills in my hometown come October… Warm air mixing with a faint hint of coming crispness rolling off sunbaked, clay-heavy hillsides covered in a thick layer of dry annual grasses plus the smell of drying vineyards, just-ready to harvest cornrows, rushes and faint note from the first pumpkins being broken from their vines. Liquor is pale yellow and transparent. Aroma coming off the tea is more muted and mellow green toastiness. Orchid, lilac, dried lily/orchid leaves and palm fronds, sun-heated schist, a bit of wet moss and clay, and blackberry brambles. There is an always-surprising accuracy to the similarity of the liquor aroma and the smell of blooming Juncus and Carex wetland grasses in a drying spring-fed shallow freshwater marsh. It’s this unique floral-vegetal-toasty-pollen-milky-cottony-heady-lighty buttered and faint grassy menthol characteristic that really hits you hiking into upland marsh in Mediterranean climates. Yes, I once brought everything needed to brew this tea out to where I was doing a vegetative survey just to make sure I wasn’t off my rocker about this all-too-precise similarity.

Mild flavor and mellow, balanced body that builds a little in 3rd-5th infusions. Most of what this tea is about is in the aroma, but the light flavor balances it out. Taste is crisp with a slight acidity like the light sour taste you get from milk or cream. Yellow bell pepper sweetness. Not much of a savory quality, but just enough to be noticed (you get much more when brewing longer). Warm sourdough bread and a bit of cheese in aftertaste. Very smooth and soothing. Warms the belly. Palm/coconut husk in the afteraroma.
Again – not very fruity at all, but if you search for it, you’ll inevitably combine the floral aromatics with the crisp flavor to make something plum skin or peach-like. Really, this is more about creaminess and dried grasses with monocot flowers.

Very pleasant, easy drinking tea. Flavor shifts a bit between floral, vegetal, buttery, mineral, and woody depending on how it’s brewed so it keeps interesting and makes it fun to screw with brewing parameters. I love this tea. Not the most Jaw-dropping tea in the world, but really tasty. One of those teas that makes it really pleasant to stick your nose in the cup after finishing and will leave you absentmindedly reaching for your cup over and over again to find it empty. “Oh, there isn’t any more :(” pops into my head a bunch. Guess that’s why I motor through it so fast.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Bio

Tea Geek.

My focus is on Chinese Wulongs and Pu’er but I’m all over the place. I tend to follow a seasonal progression of teas, following the freshness curve of greens through summer and rounding the cooler months out with toastier teas and Masala Chai.
With the exception of Masala Chai milk tea I’m a purist at heart. While I was originally snagged by Earl Grey with bergamot and make blends for gifts, I very rarely go for scented teas or herbals and can’t remember the last time I bought a tea that was blended. Pure tea is just more interesting to me than the product of mixing flavors. I do understand and appreciate their existence, though.

I upload some blends I make or special prep teas I nab under the company name “Green Raven Tea and Coffee” and the vast majority of these posts will be blends crafted to create flavors/characteristics not inherent in any one particular tea.
I’ve worked as a tea buyer for a smallish cafe and try to keep apprized of shifts in offerings even when not selecting for a business so I wind up sampling a ton of wholesale samples from a couple companies in particular but try to branch out to as many companies as I can find. Until Steepster integrates some form of comparative tasting feature, none of my cupping notes will make it onto my reviews unless wrapped up into something I feel compelled to drink multiple times on its own.



Since all the cool kids are doing it, here’s my big fat ratings scheme:

0-12…..Ugh, don’t wish on anyone
13-25….Bad, won’t touch again
26-37….Huh, not worth the effort
38-50….Meh, unremarkable
51-62….Okay, good tea
63-75….Tasty, really good tea
76-87….Yum, wonderful
88-100…Wow, really spectacular

There shouldn’t be many postings at all from me ranked 26-50 since unremarkable teas are unlikely to make me remark on ’em but to “earn” a score 37 or below I have to be disappointed to the point where others may ask for a refund or turn down offers even when free or offered as a gift (beyond stale).

I’ve got a ton of respect for anything rated 63 or higher.

For a tea to get 71 or more, it has to be pretty special and kinda blow my socks off.

The 90s are reserved for wonders that make me reevaluate my views of the world of tea as a whole.

Location

Santa Rosa, California, United States

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