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This tea smells immediately different from what I’ve had recently (which are savory Yunnan’s and dark malty black teas). The leaves are beautiful twisted loose curls, not golden nor black but silvered brown. The scent of the dry leaves are very hard to describe but the wet leaves smell floral and “dry”. The first sip is light and bright with a brief hint of cocoa and then sparkle, sparkle, sparkle, that fine mineral sparkle so lovely and cooling.

The second infusion is indeed dry but in a wonderful way like scotch. There are woodsy notes as well as the floral and bit of smoke. My thought is that this tea must indeed be made by a master. It reminds me more of Oriental Beauty and sheng than any Chinese black teas I’ve had experience with. Herbaceous notes and camphor pop up every now and then, with whispers of that first cocoa and prickles of pepper on the sides of the tongue.

Third infusion is herbaceous and peppery. Cooling and warming at the same time. Turns a bit savory and salty in the middle of the sip but not as much as the Jin Jun Mei I had yesterday and this morning, it is still floral in the beginning and in the finish and aftertaste. Now there is a battle on my tongue competing notes of sweet and salty, floral and peppery, cool and dry causing it to tingle and pulse.

In the first few sips of the fourth infusion, all the tastes of the third infusion are present only stonger and more solid. The tea is developing more body and less effervescence. And as the body develops, a slight butteriness is born and yet the tongue buzzes and the sensation from the tea is so thick and heavy you could bite into it. There is a hint of fruit here at the end of cup, that reminds me of gum and kiwi? And the buzzing of my tongue is spreading to the base of my neck and down my spine and arms and I am reminded that I must eat. Break.

Note that I wrote this note without looking at the tea’s description or other tasting notes (besides reading them a month ago) but now after reading, I realize now that the butteriness is more like olive oil and the notes I was finding similar to Oriental Beauty were muscatel and the fruit notes did have a grape and apple (gum) I got the sheng on my own though. Yay for sitting and listening to tea, it’s been awhile and this was certainly an intense experience that I hope to resume after food.

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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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