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The flavour is not exactly what I was expecting from a tea called Severe Degree of Fermentation (I was expecting something very roasted and strongly-flavoured). A two minute infusion produced a very light cup, which has some faint toasty, woody flavours. Little oolong aftertaste, but the flavours are characteristic of the late infusions of a (green?) oolong for me, minus the accompanying astringency I often find in said later infusions. It’s just very light. I think there’s enough leaf left for at least a generous additional cup, so I will have to give that a shot with a higher leaf:water ratio. It’s good, but just very light.

Second infusion (175F/3min) is more like a less green green oolong. Does that make sense? Similar flavours, but the green-ness (vegetal qualities) aren’t so present, and it’s a bit toasty/roasted. It’s better, buttery and more flavourful than the first infusion. A bit weird actually, because I feel like the flavours I’m getting here belong moreso to the first infusion of a tea than the second (and I didn’t get the two mixed up). No astringency in this infusion either, and quite a bit more oolong flavour.

Definitely a different oolong that I would like to explore a bit more. Hopefully tomorrow I can get another couple infusions out of this set of leaves as well :) I love oolongs :D Thanks for the sample, LiberTEAS!

ETA: Third infusion (175F/4 minutes) is pretty weak. Still no astringency but kind of has a woody flavour.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 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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