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Preparing this two different ways side by side in glazed gaiwans each with 115ml water.
4g using 3min-98C, 4min-90C, 4min-95C, 5min-100C decanted into a serving pitcher
and
3g using a continuous infusion more than 15min and starting at 90C, drinking from the gaiwan.
I groomed the leaf a bit for the continuous brew – the leaf bits were of a more uniform size versus the decanted infusions including some little broken pieces just a tad larger than fannings.
Really, though, if I had one served to me, I would not be able to tell which was which, as long as the infusion time went to four minutes or beyond. Seeeerious consistency. The continuous infusion picked up an “afterthought” astringency towards the bottom, but it’s pleasant and tannin-like, bringing in an oak leaf/acorn character I enjoy.

Above anything else, this leaves a silky impression. I don’t want to say “smooth” though that’s what jumps to mind, since there is a definitive crispness about it and a light astringency that trickles in from the throat up to the tip of the tongue a while after swallowing. Swishing it around in my mouth and letting it sit there is simply smooth and soothing, though a bit mouthwatering with a wood-like acidity… no astringency until it leaves the mouth. And it’s a fun astringency, at that – it’s prickly and stimulating. Ever walk along a creek in the redwoods on a cold summer evening and taken a deep breath? To those who haven’t, I’m sorry, come spend more time along Northern California’s coast. To those who have and can dredge the memory of the taste and smell up to the front of your consciousness, you have a good idea of what this tea tastes like.
Crisp, minerally, tannic, wet softwoods, mellow resin, moss, Douglas Iris, sorrel in bloom, ferns and horsetails, a mellow but steadfast background of white oak fires piping low smoke from distant wood stove chimneys, a touch of leaf litter dust dampened by fog drip, and fleeting notes of kelp washed up on coarse sand beaches in cold ocean water. I suppose this is wholly lacking in the must and mold smells that would accompany all this if you go farther north than Mendocino… but from Santa Cruz to Fort Bragg, it’s pretty darn close. I love it when teas are potently reminiscent of where I live.

This isn’t a particularly smoky Keemun, but the dry fragrance coming from the very pretty leaves is a low, slightly charred barbecue chicken fragrance. The wet leaf aroma takes on a light apple cobbler character (again, slightly charred edges). Liquor is bright red-orange in a shallow white cup and orange-brown in a deep, narrow cup and carries a copper and softwood aroma. In the continuous brew, this took on a tinge of sage brush while the decanted infusion held a more baked apple skin characteristic.

Silky, refreshing, warming but with a bit of a finishing tingle like you’ve been warmed from the cold. Love the play between the crisp and toasty dichotomy. Yummy when hot, but be sure to let a little bit of it go cold for a delicious twist that makes some sweet and spice notes jump forward (hard caramel, black pepper, and so much malt). There’s a good amount of greenery in the flavors and aromas, but the overall tacky nature announces this as a red tea with blaring horns. No bitterness. I want to say chocolate because of the texture, but it really isn’t there, mostly due to that lack of bitterness and only faint sweet aftertaste … more sandstone and sediment than anything else. The tackiness and spice notes remind me of sarsaparilla is some aspects. Third infusion in the decanted brews brings out a slight tangerine note and slicker mouthfeel – lighter body but still satisfying.

This tea can take a beating and shrugs it off like a rhino, but I feel like it would be sort of blasphemous to put anything in it. Just brew it lighter or heavier.
Down side… This tea makes me thirsty.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
pinky

Your description of the redwood forest really makes me want to drink this tea. Such beautiful writing!

AmazonV

baked apple as a color ?

Thomas Smith

No, the smell of the wet leaf is similar to apple cobbler that has burned just a tad on the edges.

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Comments

pinky

Your description of the redwood forest really makes me want to drink this tea. Such beautiful writing!

AmazonV

baked apple as a color ?

Thomas Smith

No, the smell of the wet leaf is similar to apple cobbler that has burned just a tad on the edges.

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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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