The leaves are dark green and fairly straight with little yellow flowers mixed in. There’s a characteristically toasty smell about the dry leaves, though it is somewhat less pronounced than in the other oolongs I’ve sampled. The aroma of the tea is also toasty, and quite buttery, with a subtle floral note. It brews to a yellow, champagne-like color.

I used 2.5g of tea in about 7 oz of water, about what I’ve done for other oolongs I’ve tried, and with 4 minutes for the initial steep I expected a deeper flavor. I’m not getting a “deep, rich” flavor. It’s not that it doesn’t taste good, it’s just a bit on the weak side. The osthmanthus does give it a sweet, nectar-like note, which is nice, and which has something in common with honey. I can pick up on a hint of apricot if I concentrate, but although I can smell something slightly chocolatey, I am not tasting chocolate.

I added a minute for the second steep. The flavors are similar, but have become more buttery and floral-tasting, though not deeper. Six minutes for the third steep and seven for the fourth. I was looking for further development in these, but they were fairly similar to each other, and each a bit weaker in taste than the last.

As oolongs go in my limited experience, it’s reasonably tasty. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate subtlety. But this one lacks a certain depth that I’ve experienced in others, and that I’m finding I prefer.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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