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I kind of regret buying this one. Don’t get me wrong its a decent oolong, but I should have stuck to my list and not tried to rebrowse on Steepster on my phone while at the tea counter and confuse myself. Yup I’m a tea geek. Unfortunately most of the teas I asked to see were not very strong scent-wise, except for the Sumatra Oolong Barisan which was at the top of my list, but for some reason I just wasn’t feeling the greener oolongs that day, but I think that one is really unique, oh well may be going back in the fall.

It was a nice store, a bit stark on the outside, but a very inviting layout within. When we walked through the door there was a crowd gathered in one corner listening to a bit of history on tea and watching a demonstration of their gravity pot (Perfect Tea Maker, IngenuiTea thing), they said it was magic, I chuckled. The wall the right was lined with pre-packaged tea with smelling jars, however these were mostly flavored, fruit and herbals with a few straight blacks and greens thrown in. The teas I wanted, all oolongs, were located behind the counter, in safety deposit style box/tins, it looked like an old bank or post office. While I’m sure these were ordered new, I wonder about their air tightness. There were also three samples available to taste in the center (wow that jasmine was intense).

After smelling a Darjeeling Oolong, Milk Oolong and the Indonesian and debating between four Formosas, I settle on this and was offered a complementary sample of the Formosa Fancy Superior Choice Oolong which I of course accepted. I wish I could have bought several teas in that size, but it wasn’t an option. The sample I did get is actually rated a bit higher on here and is described in their Book of Tea as having notes of sandalwood, if only I had picked the booklet up on my way in instead of on the way out. But hopefully I’ll be brewing that one up tonight and I can really compare.

So back to this tea. The dry leaf is very beautiful and variated, but like I said not very powerful. I brewed it up in my lidded mug, gongfu style with boiling to 200 degree water, starting a just three seconds, then 5, 9 and 13 secs.

The first infusion was both sweet and salty, floral and a bit muscatel. It does remind me a lot of Darjeeling as well as the Formosa oolong I tried at Adagio. The second was a tad darker and deeper, with that hint of wood coming through. The third infusion is where I came to understand something that was there from the beginning but hard to describe, it is a cocoa powder-esqueness. The toddler gulped half this cup down and said it was peachy.

The fourth is my favorite so far, it has a wonderful cooling quality that tickles the tip of the tongue and the back of the mouth. The fifth is also on the cooler side, very smooth and mild. The sixth is warmer, a bit salty and more herbaceous but seems a bit watered down. These two most recent infusions had an almost caramel like scent that I’m not getting in the taste. I’m going to try to kick it up a notch somehow.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Bio

Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.

Location

Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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