65

Brewed 4g with 125ml for 1 minute in a glass gaiwan.
Smooth and similar to a Hao Ya Keemun without any of the ash or light bitter notes Qi Men frequently expresses.
I originally made this just to see what would happen mixing various blacks and greens together. Some worked out okay, but mixing high quality pure-bud Yunnan or Fujian red tea with white tea actually produced a flavor I’d hoped for in a red tea. Pain in the butt to blend and it’s sad blending teas that are around $0.50 per gram, but I really like the results. Nice vertical expression of flavors – you take a gulp and are presented with several tastes, smells, and sensations in sequence headed through to the aftertaste. Hard to pin down anything other than a few definitive notes, though.
Pine, apple pie crust, cinnamon, pepper, juniper, cotton, honeysuckle, and cocoa powder come strongly to mind without having directly analogous flavors. Slightly burned balsa wood is certainly there in the aroma, though.
Smooth and rich with a fleeting astringency if brewed with water beyond 80 degrees C or more than a minute. Brewing it longer or hotter is fine, but you won’t get as dynamic a play on the flavor. The flavor really opens up in the third infusion, where some ginger-like savory comes to play.
I’d expound on about this, but would rather encourage others to experiment. Personally, I actually like special prep Fujian red tea mixed with two-year rested Bai Hao Yin Zhen, but again, that’s blending expensive, special order teas that ought to be enjoyed separate first (and the pure bud Fujian reds are actually even harder to blend homogeneously).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 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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