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This is for the first harvest of 2012 Spring Tieguanyin. I’m attempting a bit of gong-fu style steeping here with my new pot. Infusions are about 10 seconds long, from the time the water touches the leaves to the time most of the water has been poured out (apparently oolongs are drippy… who knew?!) Water is approximately boiling, but I did the first four infusions in succession, followed by another four, so the water probably cooled over each set somewhat. 5g of leaf in my more-than-4-5-oz pot.

First infusion: I didn’t do a rinse; this probably should have been it. Light in flavour, a bit creamy and floral. Regardless, I like it, because I love these tieguanyins.
2: Liquor’s a bit darker, expecting a richer flavour…. yup. This time there’s… something different there. The same basic floral/creaminess, but there’s something almost rich and woody in there. Also, it’s a little bit vegetal. Green bean was the flavour that my mind is conjuring up, but given that I read reviews of the Laoshan greens today, it’s hard to know whether that was just already in my head or whether I actually tasted it.
3: I definitely feel like there’s a greener taste to this one. The floralness is disappearing already… I miss it. Still great though. The aftertaste lingers more on these second two infusions, no surprise.
4: Rather similar to the third. I feel like there’s something different at the end of the sip. Maybe a bit of fruitiness? I feel like I’m losing flavour though; going with 15 second infusions from now on. (Also I’m feeling rather full suddenly from sipping from four cups back and forth in succession… boo.)
5: Ok, 15 seconds ended up being 20 for each of these. It happens. Although it’s still creamy, I definitely feel like we’re moving into the woody, more vegetal phase here. Oolong aftertaste is intense here, just how I like it.
6: Similar to 5, even less floral.
7: Likewise.
8: Oh, starting to get something different here. Reminds me more of the Wuyi Mountain oolong I had last night. It’s good too, but I think I prefer earlier infusions.

At this point my tiny little teapot is completely full of opened leaves. I might see what I can do with it tomorrow but seriously, my tummy is DONE for the night! I really need to figure out what size the little pot is; I think the tea tasted a bit dilute because 5g of tea was meant for a 4-5oz. pot, and I think it’s at least 8oz.? It was good, I just could have done with more flavour. Still need to compare this to the autumn version sometime soon! But perhaps not until I have the mental ability to describe things as more than just “wow, it’s different now!” Haha.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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