I finished off my sample packet with some gaiwan brewing today. Didn’t track the times for each steep much, but I did use near 100C water and gave the leaves a quick rinse before the first steep.

The first steep was really sweet, but in an unpleasant metallic way, as if someone had added stevia to the mix. The third and fourth steeps were the best, where I got the nicest mix of oolong base and flavouring. However, by the end it was becoming a tad astringent. This is surprising, as the leaves had barely begun to unfurl by the final (6th or 7th) steep.

Not for me, I guess. But it was an educational tea all the same.

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I’m a writer and editor who, after years of bagged-tea purgatory, has finally seen the light and glory of loose-leaf teas. I’m still just starting my journey, as it’s been only in the last 2 years that I’ve started drinking loose-leaf tea, and only in the past few months that I’ve been trying different varieties in earnest.

Likes: Green tea, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender.

Things I’m on the fence about: Oolong, vanilla (I prefer it mixed with black teas or rooibos rather than green tea), white teas.

Still need to do my research on: unflavoured black teas, pu’er teas.

For those interested, here’s my scoring system, though I don’t score teas as often as I used to:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.


Toronto, ON, Canada



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