70

One of the most beautiful teas I’ve seen in terms of dry leaf appearance (wet leaf and liquor color are pretty too, but not as breathtaking). Looks like small, fat buds of spun gold.

Maybe the gorgeous appearance, meticulous grading, and my general faith in the retailer’s selections had a good amount to do with this, but boy this was disappointing.

Lacking in character.
Flavors that were present had a wet cardboard taste threaded through them.
Tastes and aromas are muddled together and difficult to differentiate.
Kinda flat.

Best cup I’ve been able to produce so far (4g, 120ml, 2min, 95C) leans heavily on the dry-cured bamboo flavor and has sort of a dried papaya note hiding in the nose behind the smell of an old leaf pile. Nice body, but it just kinda sits there. In a cupping lineup I found myself avoiding this tea, half-emptying the bowls of the other samples and barely putting a dent in this one.
Gonna try screwing with concentration on this one tomorrow. Maybe if I overdose or go much lighter it will turn out better. Mid range of 2g-4g per 115ml-150ml from 85 degrees to boiling isn’t doing it for me, though.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 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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