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Recent Tasting Notes

This is one delicious oolong! It was included as a free sample with my last order. It is very smooth and sweet, it almost seems aged, I was surprised that it is a 2015 vintage. Dark leaves and a fairly dark brew. It is one of those ‘bug bitten’ teas that supposedly imparts a honey flavor. This tea does indeed have a very pronounced honey sweet fruit flavor, almost orangey. I’m really impressed with the oolongs I have been trying from Chawangshop.


When are you drinking the bug pooh tea ?


Hopefully tomorrow! But sometime in the next week for sure.


Me and my grampa are waiting to see how you like it.

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2012 Lantingchun TF “Mang Fei Cha Hun” Early Spring Raw Puerh – Chawangshop

Price: £21.63 ($32.00) / 357g cake.


8g in gaiwan

Summary: Early steeps show interesting, textured and green tasting tea, but later brews reveal a tea that has way too much smoke to compensate for astringency and sourness. It does have good energy and is cheap for a cake though.

Dry: Subdued concentrated herbal. My tea is completely loose leaves. Colour is lighter shades of brown and some silvery. Some dust.

Wet: Straw, dry medium smoke, light concentrated herbal. Some black char on some leaves – that is black specks that can be moved off the leaves. Could this be due to not cleaning the wok from the previous batch?

Rinse: Light/yellow gold.

10s – Light/yellow gold. Quite smoky on the sip and into the finish. Tobacco smoke. Slightly astringent with a good powerful body. It has not strong bright herbal and is instead mild leather and is green. I’m not noticing any obvious fruit to name so I’d say green fruit.

15s – Med yellow/golden. Very smoky with a concentrated fruit that starts bitter and becomes sour. It fills the mouth well, but carries medium astringency. It is quite oily.

5s – Light yellow/gold. Not particularly fresh; it is more stale. The smoke and bitter/sour fruit give it a rough texture. I quite like this.

10s – Light yellow/gold. Astringent, drying, sour fruit, smoke that isn’t integrated well. A vegetable note – asparagus. It’s thick, concentrated and heavy going. It’s different.

15s – Light yellow/golden. Very astringent. Its like drinking a cigarette in water. Not good.

Flavors: Asparagus, Green, Smoke

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2004 Dehong raw – Chawangshop

Price: £4.04 ($6) / 50g = £0.08 ($0.12)/g.
£26.96 ($40) / 500g brick = £0.05 ($0.07) / g


Summary: A fun tea with a strong cumin like spicy note. Not complex, impressive or oily.

Dry: Dark brown, flat piece. High compression. Some dust. Spicy, raw beetroot attack!

Wet: Soil, aged aromas: furniture polish, bird cage, old building. A faint hint of cumin. A lot going on here.

Rinse: Light golden (not orange).

Rest for 1 hour 20 min.

10s – Light/med golden. Tastes like soil and it quite watery.

15s – Light/med golden brown. Light soil with a refreshing spicy note that lasts from the sip to the finish. Medium thickness. No bitterness or astringency. Flavour is quite basic. 74/100

20s – Light/med brown (golden has gone) Thin liquor. Light furniture polish with a spicy note, which is similar to cumin, but very mild cumin. 75/100. I’ve had a tea like this before from Yunnan Sourcing: 2005 Wild Tree “Ye Sheng Cha” Raw Pu-erh tea brick of Dehong.

25s – Med brown. Produces a medium thickness when the flavour comes in, which is peppery spice, light smoke and light furniture polish. Slightly astringent this time. Body has a dryness to it. The finish has a dry spicy note.

30s – Medium brown. The spiciness takes a step back and the furniture polish is stronger. It washes down smoothly. I can still taste the spicy note after finishing the cup.

35s – Med reddy brown. Still going to the max.

Rest 20 mins.

40s + 50s – Soil, spice, astringency. Fizzes on the swallow.

Flavors: Spicy

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Norbert Varga

I drunk this recently and I did not like it as much as about a year ago, maybe it was just me. I chip of some from the brick to air it out then I try it from a gaiwan. Did you use zisha or porcelain?


What didn’t you like about it? I used a gaiwan.

Norbert Varga

I basically couldn’t detect any sweetness. But I noticed this kind of oscillation with some of my teas over the years.

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From the Group Oolong buy… I really enjoyed this tea. It is similar to the tiny brick in a recent White2tea club offering. I think it helps to know what you’re getting yourself into with these aged dhp bricks. They are like whiskey in a lot of ways. This one tastes like dark oolong was aged in an oak barrel – a very strong vanilla note coupled with roasty oak undertones. It is really fun to drink, in my opinion. A tiny chunk goes a long way, kind of like shu pu erh. I think it helps to use a gaiwan and do short steeps.

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1990s “Jin Gua Gong Cha” Chawangshop

Summary: Airing out this tea for a week has massively improved it. It gives a good aged taste which hints at 2000 Green Peacock by Essence of Tea. However, the furniture polish note is still too bright to fully enjoy this tea.

5g 100 ml gaiwan. The sample has been open and airing out for approximately one week.

10s – Not unpleasant like the last time I tried this tea. Still smoky. Has a nice aged taste. Still on the bright furniture polish, but only slightly.

15s – Med orange/golden. Open aged flavours. Some kipper smoke. This is much improved after airing out. It leaves a pine smoky taste.

20s – It has flavours in common with 2000 Green Peacock by Essence of Tea: log burning smoke, bright pine smoke – all softened of course. However, currently it is not as good as that tea. It leaves a bright furniture note in the mouth, and it’s currently not too pleasant. In time I’m hoping this will be less bright and more round.

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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1990s “Jin Gua Gona Cha” – Chawangshop

30/100 – Undrinkable (at the moment)


Summary: Not good. Mainly undrinkable. Not natural tasting. Aged flavour of furniture polish, but way too strong. Dry, flat tasting, harsh.

Maybe this tea has had storage problems as it is not pleasant to drink. Instead, it is harsh and drying with a strong odd note of furniture polish. It leaves my mouth quite dry with that dark, static furniture polish similar to stewed black tea. Or maybe this tea needs time to air out.

Dry: Very dark brown. Quite flatly compressed. High compression. Smoky cheese – reminds me of Essence of Tea teas.

Wet: Aged aroma: furniture polish; no old building or bird cage. Quite smoky: some electric, some cigarette… Leather. Coal tar – very odd. Some of the leaves are a little rubbery and dark.

Rinse: Med golden.

10s – Strong med golden. Liquor has smoky notes. This is a strong favloured tea. I think this is what furniture polish may taste like. Raisins: some bright; some astringent. Stewed tea. Not too good. Maybe I brewed it for too long. 50/100 – barely drinkable.

3s – Med golden. Not good. This tastes like T-Gel anti-dandruff shampoo, which contains coal tar. The flavour is quite strong with a medium astringent finish. 45/100 – undrinkable.

5s – Med golden (some brown). Some aged flavours. Has a finish of furniture polish.

Rest – 40 mins

10s – Med golden brown. Sweet raisin sip and then that odd drying, dark fruit taste with furniture polish. I’ve had aged teas before and they were more palatable than this. 50/100 – barely drinkable.

15s – Darker med golden brown. It has a sour flavour.

8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

“no old build or bird cage” LOL I call this pigeon laden house. That sweetness that comes with a rancid sweet of old and new bird poo mixing together.


Good spot. I’ve corrected it now.


This tea is much improved. It even reminds me of 2000 Green Peacock in some ways.

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Mellow and sweet with some astringency mid-session – light, clean and easy to drink. I could consume 200g of this, but unlikely to buy it because… reasons. If you’re shopping on a tight budget and want something easy-going, it’s a superb deal ($0.085/g you really can’t go wrong). If your preferences lean towards the aggressive, or you plan to age it, the “old tree” bada ($0.1/g) is probably a better buy.

205 °F / 96 °C 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

I tried it and didn’t like it at all. It was bitter, astringent, sour without any sweetness. It’s like you and me were drinking too different teas.


Huh! That does sound pretty different. Could be parameters, how our palates are tuned, or maybe even different processing/material between batches.. My sample is gone, so I can’t go back to try again.

It struck me as a boring tea for my taste, and I don’t mind bitter/astringent!

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2004 Shi Kun Mu’s Menghai Gushu Raw
Shi Kun Mu is a tea trader/blender/master from Taiwan and I was very curious about the 2004 ShiKunMu productions (Yiwu, YiBang, Manzhuan, Menghai). When my Menghai and YiBang cakes arrived over 18 months ago, they seemed a bit dry so I stuck them away to freshen up a bit. They have been in my humidity monitored tea cabinets and they now seem ready to taste. The Menghai cake is rather enjoyable – overall a tea of rich flavor and mouth feel. Reported to be spring ancient arbor material, the leaf looks good and the dark golden tea liquor is very clean. Sweet aroma lingers in the cup. Early steeps offer an earthy mushroom flavor which lightens and becomes sweeter in the next cups. The flavor includes a bit of rather delicate astringency in 3rd and later infusions but this makes the tea a little more interesting and complex in my opinion. Camphor and menthol appear off and on. Reasonable amount of Qi builds up through the session. Decent endurance – I’ve enjoyed eight cups and the tea has more to give. My mouth continues to water from the tea session which ended an hour ago.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Excellent review.


Weeping at the thought of having a humidity monitored cabinet! How wonderful!


Humidity monitored cabinet should be easy. Just buy a hygrometer for $10 to measure humidity!


ashmanra – I have two free standing cabinets in my dining room – one for sheng and one for shu. I use multiple hygrometers and water glasses to monitor and control the humidity. Nothing fancy but it works for me.


That’s more or less my setup!

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Mildly funky and nutty. Relaxing qi. I might add this to an order from Chawangshop.

5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

welcome to Steepster!!!


Why, thank you very much.



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This is the second best aged oolong that I’ve had. Decided to try it because I thought the 96’ wasn’t that good and I was just wanting one cup… turns out, I steeped this one over 10 times. Nice texture to the sweetness that is in the background constantly. It’s a little dry, but for the notes that it has and its resteeping value, i am able to deal with it. The leaf opens up at around the third steep and gets a bit thicker which when it is best.

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This is a bit disappointing. I got a sample of this tea during Liquid Proust’s aged oolong group buy and liked it so much that I bought some in my recent CWS order. However, this time around I’m not enjoying it as much. My previous review saw a lot of subtle flavors that I’m just not seeing. All I get is a fairly pleasant tea with a leafy tobacco flavor with a light roast overlay. My previous rating was 89. This time it is 81, so I’ve adjusted my rating to be the average between the two.

I will need to experiment with my brewing technique. First time was a modified Western technique: 3 grams in 6 oz for 60 s steeps. This time was 3 g in 3 oz for 30 s. I actually increased to 60 s steeps but didn’t seem to get more flavor.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

I’ve had to air out everything I order from CwS.

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  • from the aged oolong group buy*

!st steep at 200F (1 m): Very sweet and smooth. Flavor reminds me a bit of a nougat candy, though not exactly. This is very good. 2nd (60s): Interesting aroma: I think I’m smelling the roast, but it’s much more complex than I’m used to. Taste is big: opens up in the mouth, then collapses into a really nice finish. The flavor is dried fruit: raisins, dates. Slightly bitter as the cup cooled. 3rd (60s): The nose is richer than before but the taste has faded a bit. Not weak; just less powerful than the second steep. The finish is still complex, powerful and long, with just a hint of bitterness. I’m also feeling some cha qi. 3 more steeps were fairly nice but not special.

Another very interesting tea. My rating is more a grade for being interesting as being pleasant to drink, though I did enjoy the flavor. I’m thinking of buying more.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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*From the aged Oolong group buy *

Strange: has a big hunk of gourd skin in the package ( I wasn’t brave enough to steep any of the rind, but may try it in the next sample) 1st steep: (60s) leads off with a strong roasted, almost burnt taste, almost like French roast coffee. This is quickly followed with a mellow caramel flavor that makes me think sweet, even though I don’t actually have any perception of sweetness. The caramel fades in the finish, but a hint is still present. The finish seems more like nutmeg. Decent texture in the mouth: just a bit of viscosity. Fairly consistent through tasting as the tea cools, but when it got near room temperature it became bitter.

I waited about 10 minutes before the second steep, as the tea leaves had not yet unfurled. 2nd (60 s): Very roasty in the nose, but the immediate sensation on first sip is sweetness. The taste is tar and leather. I don’t notice the caramel. Big finish. Later in the cup the tar is starting to be replaced with caramel; the taste is very smooth and mellow. I delayed about 30 minutes for the 3rd steep (60 s) to let the aftertaste of the last cup fade away. This is mellow with mild leather/caramel flavors. Not at all burnt or toasted. The finish seems almost bigger than the taste at this point. I gave the 4th steep at little extra time, but there wasn’t much left.

I really enjoyed tasting this tea, but the initial roasted flavor was a bit too much for me. I used 3 g of tea in 6 oz of 190 F water.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

I usually brew boil with heavy roasted TGY, rinse and very short steeps. I’m getting some bitter melon TGY from YS . Hopefully it’s good

Liquid Proust

I put some skin in every package :)

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I predicted this to be among the least interesting of my random chawangshop samples, but it turns out my prediction was completly wrong.

Youthful and a little aggressive for its age (dry stored), many interesting features. Mouth activity is good, texture is quite smooth with decent body, aftertaste is good with some lingering bitterness. There is definitely chop in it, but it’s not hard to pick out some nice, intact leaves. It’s interesting enough to keep steeping, even on a tea-Friday.

Is it worth $0.30/g though? Meh.. Maybe. It’s a closer call for me than other teas in the sample binge (so far). I wouldn’t mind owning it, but hesitant to take $100 out of the tea budget to get it.

Boiling 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Pretty fruity aroma but the taste is more like earthy-sweet-fruity with some astringency. Marginally more interesting than the 2004 Xinfu Yiwu I had yesterday, which is the same price range; a bit thicker and overall darker notes. Leaf quality is decent, but with a fair bit of chop. It would probably remain drinkable for several more infusions (but it’s going in the bin now because I’m bored with it).

Same conclusion; it’s decent, but also not something I would buy at this price.

Boiling 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Another one from chawangshop bargain hunt. Seem like this tea is no longer available (I’ll refrain from commenting on the chawangshop search feature… suffice to say it may be in there somewhere). Not sure how it was priced; sample was $10/25g, so I would guess $0.30/g range for a beeng.

It is certainly a big step up from the 2005 Nan Nuo I just had; more balanced, thicker mouthfeel, more active. It has lost a bit of steam by the 5th infusion, especially in terms of texture. Profile is quite light and sweet for a Yiwu. Overall good, but not amazing (e: and if it is in the $.30/g range, I would buy something else, but it does show some potential for improvement with age)

Boiling 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Bought a sample of this, bargain hunting.. Pretty much as expected for a “random” $45 2005 factory production. Sample leaf quality doesn’t resemble the photos of the outer cake, could not find a single near-intact leaf digging through 12g of spent tea, all finely chopped… and I venture to guess a fair bit of huang pian in here. Again, as expected.

Mostly floral and sweet with a thin body and some aroma. Fair bit of astringency, otherwise not a lot of activity. Not terrible for what it is, but I can think of better ways to spend the money.

Boiling 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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1997 CNNP Big Red Mark – Chawangshop

26/25 :)

7g in gaiwan.


Summary: An aged tea with a soil/earth flavour. Nothing special flavour wise. Lacks depth of flavour and clarity. I think it is genuine 90’s tea judging by the long number of steeps, the bold flavour and the leaves.
Is it worth the £150 ($210.00) for a cake? No. The flavour is too basic. It hasn’t matured into something special.

Dry: Med brown. Smells earthy. Light/med compression.

Wet: Soil, earthy, clay, slight smoke, foisty. Wet pastry. Later: aged aroma: old building, some furniture polish.

Rinse: Med brown. The earthy aroma was strong when pouring out the rinse.

10s – Med brown. Taste is earthy, not in a flat way, but in a pleasant way. Absolutely no bitterness or astringency. This tastes like soil so far.

Rest – 1 hour

15s – Med brown/red. The thickness expands in the mouth. This tea has some complexity and flavours which I’m struggling to describe: old furniture, a tingling and a long aged aroma in the finish. The body is good. It has some spicy notes and the aged aroma can be tasted when breathing.

20s – Med brown/ref. Bold aged flavour with good form.

25s – Med brown. Some polish flavours hitting the roof of my mouth.

45s – Becoming harsh, but has that aged flavour still.

7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

awesome review! i wish i could write like this :(


have you read any of my reviews? what do you think of them?


Thanks. I’m really enjoying these teas from Chawangshop and Essence of Tea at the moment.
Yes I have read quite a few of your reviews. I think they highlight a lot of good qualities in a wide range of different teas. Keep them up.


thank-you so much :D


Great review.

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This is another one from Liquid Proust’s Aged Oolong Sampler. This one is roasty, very roasty. It was fairly smooth though and a little bitter at points. Strange that I didn’t notice the bitterness in all the early steeps, just some. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. I probably used a little too much leaf in this. I didn’t have enough leaf for my larger gaiwan so I put all 5.3g in my 60ml gaiwan. Probably should have gone with 4g but it seemed like a waste to save 1.3g of tea so I went with it. Eventually a sweet note showed up but it was behind the roast note, barely perceptible. This is not a tea I’d go out of my way to buy again, just too roasty for me, but it’s nice to get to try it.

I brewed 5.3g of leaf in a 60ml gaiwan with 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. Judging by the color of the leaf this tea would keep on going with longer steeps but I really don’t feel like drinking any more of it.

Flavors: Roasted

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

At $7 for a 100g cake, I wouldn’t expect too much here. I’ve bought Da Hong Pao from Dragon Tea House before and it was quite nice.


Probably not one I would have bought regardless but it was interesting.

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Dried drinking through this one… only got trough sips of each steep because it just wasn’t appealing. It might be a 2015 sheng, but for me the year doesn’t matter as much as how I feel from it and the taste it puts out. This one right now just makes me wish I brewed something else.


How much leaf did you use?


I used 7g. I’d try brewing more leaf as sometimes the flavour can be too weak; however, if you’re decidely against this tea that may make little difference.

Liquid Proust

I like light sweet sheng… Or potent I forgot what the heck I just drank kind of sheng.
This wasn’t near either of those two descriptions.

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2015 Chawangpu Hekai Gushu Xiao – Chawangshop


Price: £23.94 ($36) 200g cake.

7g in Gaiwan.

Summary: Bright, lively, citrus with good base. Let down by being a bit flat and lacking clarity. Good staying power – it just kept on brewing.

Dry: Grey and brown leaves. Citrus, concentrated herbal. Fresh and green.

Wet: Bright concentrated herbal, but with a bit of base. Strong leaves. Promising…

Rinse: Light yellow.

10s – Light yellow. Lively, bright concentrated herbal with some base. This is better than their 2013 Chawangpu Gao Shan Liu Shui. The flavour stays in the mouth.

12s – Light yellow. Pleasant bitterness. Slightly astringent on the swallow, but the sweetness pushes through.

15s – It has some high mountain Oolong in the body. The high sweetness is balanced by a slightly woody base. This is quite good.

20s – The high mountain Oolong creaminess is the main taste. Becoming astringent.

22s – Astringent, but still lively.

Many more fresh and lively brews…

Flavors: Citrus

7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2013 Chawangpu “Goa Shan Lin Shui” Yiao Bing Cha – Chawangshop

26/25 g :) My first order to Chawangshop.

Price: £3.33 ($5) / 25g

Summary: Bright, fresh sheng which gets astringent too quickly. Plain and straighforward. Plantation tea taste. I looked at the price for a 200g cake – £30 ($45). I believe that is a little high.
I agree with Rich’s review of this tea, although I am not sure I would interpret Hobbes’s review as that positive.

Dry: My sample is the part from the bing hole. Brown and grey leaves. Med compression. Bright concentrated herbal.

Wet: Bright fruit. A ‘Jing Mai’ aroma: fresh and vibrant.—qFLWUA0

Rinse: Light golden.

5s – Light yellow. Full and soft in the mouth. Sweet floral.

15s – Light yellow. Very, very sweet. Long, sweet, very slightly astringency in the finish. Not a thick liquor. Tastes very much like 2007 Mengku Mu Ye Chun from Dragon Tea House. Astringent and mouth drying finish.

7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This one is strange. Black as coal. Form is a strongly compressed cake that flaked and powdered under my pick. Like shou, but even darker. I wound up with 3 chunks and a bunch of dust.

The aroma is burnt, with an undercurrent of caramel. Taste is hard to describe. The burnt taste seemed to float at the front of my mouth while the caramel moved back to my throat. The burnt flavor faded then reappears in the finish (which is very long). This one is REALLY not for the light-roast crowd! I messed up the second steep and did about 5 minutes. Really strong but not bad. The flavor rivals espresso for intensity but without too much acid or bitterness. Some bitterness does appear in the finish and it became more bitter as it cooled. 3rd steep is effectively about the 5th steep due to the long second steep. Still strong. Nose very burnt but there is a sweetness developing in the taste. Drying out my throat.

5th steep is sweeter and less roasted. I’m liking it better, though it is also a bit simpler. Still smells like burnt toast. At this point I stopped taking detailed notes but kept drinking. I’m at about the 10th steep and the harsh burnt flavor is just about gone. What is left is a complex mix of tobacco and leather. The taste is still strong, and the finish is unbelievable. I’m also getting light-headed from the cha qi.

In a way, I was lucky to oversteep the tea. Otherwise I would probably have given up after about 4 steeps, as the flavor, while interesting was not all that pleasant. However, I’m enjoying the later steeps very much and while I need to stop because I’m probably way over my caffeine quota for the day this tea doesn’t want to quit. I’m not giving a numerical rating but this started out as about an 84 just because it was interesting, dropped into the high 70s because I got tired of the burnt flavors, but is now in the high 80s because it is just so darn pleasant to drink. With the exception of the second steep, all my steep times have been about 1 minute. I normally increase oolong steep times after the third but haven’t felt the need for this powerful tea. I still have a few grams so may try this with much shorter steeps next time.

Thanks again to Liquid Proust. this was a lot of fun, and a tea I never would have tried on my own!

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

hahaha, I was going to say “this is an usual tea for you”, and then I read the last sentence. This does sound interesting.

Liquid Proust

This one smells strong and nasty but doesnt taste as strong as you’d think from the aroma. I smelled it and was upset until I drank it.

Dr Jim

I was semi-upset until the 5th steep. I had more today (lost track of steeps) and will probably be drinking it tomorrow. The current drawback is that I don’t have that many pots and this is tying one up.

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Thank You Liquid Proust for this aged oolong sampler. This is the fourth tea I have drank from this sampler. I found it was not in the catalog and added it using Chawangshop’s rather long name. This is pretty good. Despite it being called heavy roasted it didn’t seem so to me. It was roasty in the first steep but not so much in the second and gone by the third. There were left a variety of sweet notes that I totally failed to identify. But suffice to say this is good tea. When I say it was sweet I added no sugar so it is just the natural sweetness, not a sugar sweetness. I gave this eight steeps and I think it is pretty much played out. In the eighth steep it tastes a little bit watery.
There was also a bit of a medicinal note to this tea. But not a strong one.

I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 6.5g leaf and bittermelon with 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, and 45 sec. I should note that I couldn’t list bittermelon as an ingredient because it is not in the catalog and the computer won’t let you add an unlisted ingredient. Why I wonder do they think were going to add nonexistent ingredients.

Flavors: Roasted, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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