82
drank Hand Picked Bao Zhong by Samovar
2029 tasting notes

This is my chosen gong fu tea of the day. I got this sample from Amy Oh… thanks! This is my first tea from Samovar, which is a tea company I’ve always wanted to try. I have enjoyed the bao zhongs I’ve had before, but I’ve never had one gong fu.

There isn’t much info about this tea online because it is not on Samovar’s websites, so I used approximate brewing parameters from Naivetea for their bao zhong. I also didn’t rinse this one. In the first steep, 30 seconds, I definitely smell buttery asparagus notes, which are really the main fragrance here. It is definitely sweet, fresh, spring asparagus like we’re getting now. The flavor, though is first sweet and fruity (one of Amy’s posts said there are supposed to be notes of mango in here, and I can see it), then followed by some spring vegetables. Really, really lovely.

Second steep (45 seconds) is much greener in color, and it smells more buttery. But the taste is kind of meh? Not exciting. Same with the third. Same thing as has been happening with most of the oolongs I try to steep gong fu. I dunno, I think maybe I am increasing my steep time too fast? Maybe I should stick with similar timed steeps for the first few at least? I mean, the third steep isn’t bad but it’s nothing to write home about. Why do I get great first steeps and then mediocre steeps for the rest of them in seemingly all the oolongs I try to steep gong fu? Especially when I’ve read so many times that people think the second steep is often the best. Not for me. Gotta figure this out.

A hotter, short fourth steep (boiling, 20 seconds) hints at the notes of the first steep, but they are weaker. An improvement over the second and third, though.

Rating this one on the delicious first steep, which was delightful. Thanks for sharing this with me, Amy!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

I really liked this one too. :))

TeaBrat

hmmm. whenever I gong fu a tea I tend to use a higher leaf to water ratio than I would otherwise, could this be part of the issue?

ScottTeaMan

I should be more precise when I steep goggfu style- sometime I use too much, sometimes not enuff. What I mean is that I tend to use less leaf than most people.

Dinosara

That may have been a problem with this tea (although it’s the same tea:ratio as Naivetea recommended), but with the other oolongs my pot has been bursting with oolong after steeping so I couldn’t add too much more! I’ll definitely be playing around with the parameters.

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Comments

ScottTeaMan

I really liked this one too. :))

TeaBrat

hmmm. whenever I gong fu a tea I tend to use a higher leaf to water ratio than I would otherwise, could this be part of the issue?

ScottTeaMan

I should be more precise when I steep goggfu style- sometime I use too much, sometimes not enuff. What I mean is that I tend to use less leaf than most people.

Dinosara

That may have been a problem with this tea (although it’s the same tea:ratio as Naivetea recommended), but with the other oolongs my pot has been bursting with oolong after steeping so I couldn’t add too much more! I’ll definitely be playing around with the parameters.

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Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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