Opening the foil pack, vacuum-formed around the tea nuggets, I’m greeted by a fresh, green and fruity scent. Aaaah, the new crop is such a fine event! The rolled-up tea is smaller than other batches of Ali Shan I’ve had, and this is borne out later by the smaller-than-usual wet leaves. I covered the bottom of the glass gaiwan a couple of layers deep in the green half-balls of tea and poured on a little hot water, dumping it immediately for a quick rinse. The first steep astonishes me with its thickness, coating mouth and throat with buttery goodness. I thought I got a whiff of grain, or perhaps popcorn, in there, too. Very tasty. Second steep, sweeter, with intermittent notes of lilac and rose. Good flavor and aroma, even though the liquor of each steep tends quite pale yellow-green. Fourth steep, at 5 min long, the gaiwan is full of leaves and the tea’s full body continues. I’m still drinking greedily, almost hungrily … it’s that satisfying and thirst-quenching … and I did a 5th infusion, too. The rich texture and buttery taste are what make this tea most memorable for me. I’m really enjoying it!

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Note: I’m open to offers to swap tea samples. If you can’t message me, just comment on one of my tea notes, and I’ll respond.

I am fascinated and deeply impressed by the artistry and skill which coaxes such an array of qualities from one species of leaf. In 2009, I founded San Antonio Tea & Herb Enthusiasts. In 2014, a move to Southern California creates both upheaval and new horizons. The best part is that now I live quite close to my son and his family.

For intimate tastings with a small gathering, I’m practicing Asian-style tea service along the lines of Chinese gongfu cha. It is a joy to share good tea!

The most recent sign of my conversion to the deeply-steeped side: I’ve turned three large file boxes into “tea humidors” for aging pu-erh cakes and bricks at 65% humidity. Remote sensors within the “pumidors” relay the temperature and humidity readings to a base station on my desk. It satisfies my scientist aspect and keeps tea pretty well, too.


Southern California, USA



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