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I was craving a dark oolong tonight (it seems my preferences have shifted from green teas to dark oolongs recently), and chose this one to brew up as I have a whole ounce of it and hadn’t yet touched it! Given my previous failures with Verdant dancongs, I kind of went with my own parameters, which would be a loose tbsp of leaf (the leaves are so incredibly wiry!), which was likely only a gram or two at most, in 8 oz. water. With no rinse, as I only do that for pu’erh.

The first infusion, for 25s at 205F, looked light but out of lingering fear, I pulled the infuser basket out anyways. Turns out I could have left it in longer, but the result was a light, deliciously fruity/woody dark oolong with intense peachy notes appearing in the aftertaste. I think an additional 10 seconds or so would have made this even better (alternately, a bit more leaf). I don’t have time to get into more of what I’m tasting, but this is delicious and exactly what I was craving, and my cup is almost gone!

The leaves smelled absolutely delicious post-infusion, a complex mixture of aromas I couldn’t place but am dying to try and tease out of this tea! The aroma was so strong, I feel like the leaves could last for far more infusions than I’ll make it to (which tonight is two, hopefully more tomorrow).

Second infusion (35s, 200F) loses some of the fruitiness and becomes a bit more woody, but I almost want to say I’m tasting a bit of fig? Again, the flavour would have been better with more leaf/a longer infusion, but this is delicious regardless!

Definitely a good choice on this one tonight (also on ordering 1 oz. of it!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 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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