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I got my (ginormous) order from Chicago Tea Garden today! Yay!!!

I was really looking forward to trying this tea. I really wanted something dark in the oolong spectrum and nothing was quite hitting the spot. They were all turning out a bit too sweet to fulfill my ravenous need for roast. I love ALL oolongs, but sometimes a girl craves roasted tea, you know? I must say, the sticky rice tuochas very nearly turned my head, though.

The aroma of roasted nuts hit me as soon as I opened the tin. I’m smelling walnuts and pecans at Christmas. The tea leaves are really tightly rolled up. I had to give it two boiling water rinses before they started to loosen up. The delicious nuttiness was just enormous in the wet leaves. Oh yeah, this was definitely what I was looking for.

So, I went for 1.5 tsp for threeish ounces of water. I kinda faked the gong-fu with a small mug and the tea strainer (to keep the leaves in the mug when I poured, they were under the strainer!). My order for a couple of gaiwans has yet to arrive, and I kinda wanted to try this tea on porcelain before futzing with different clays. I’ve done it before, it’s not that hard. I gave the tea a few seconds at a time and increased the steeps from there – near the tenth steep I was doing a minute and a half. Only issue today is that I pulled a dumb blonde moment and poured the hot water from the kettle on my fingers. Derp. Lucky it wasn’t boiling, huh? :)

The liquor comes out a nice golden tone, with a delicious roasty smell that just made me want to hurry up even more. It tastes like it smells – roasted nuts, a bit like my mother’s walnut and pecan pie, without the sugar. It does have a mellow sweet finish to it, but it’s understated. Just the way I like it. My sister noted a chestnut flavour at the very end of it, which I agree with, though my experience with chestnuts is limited. The roastiness fades as the cup cools, the result being a very odd (though pleasant) nutty mellow quality.

As the steeps progress, there’s a very odd toasted…chamomile?! taste that emerges. I don’t mind chamomile, but I prefer the earlier steeps by far. Or maybe I didn’t steep them enough at the end of it? I was very confused to pick up on it, anyway. It’s the only reason I didn’t rate the tea higher. Maybe I did something wrong. Weird.

Anyway – final judgement on the tea? SO GOOD. Do try. And do drink it hot. The tea really shines.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Ninavampi

Sadly, I have to admit that I have poured hot water for tea on my fingers too at some point… Argh… Will try very very hard to never ever do it again!

SimpliciTEA

What a great word: ginormous!

Wow, you mention a tenth steeping, so how many total steepings actually yielded flavor?

I’ve had plenty of those burn moments, myself. I look at them as a kind of ‘tea war wound’, and chalk it up to experience (you know us men, some of us—well, Me at least—try to turn pain and hardship into something, erm, glorious, I guess.). So, what is the equivalent of ‘dumb blond’ for a male anyway? Because whatever it is, if you looked it up in the dictionary, you may very well see my picture smiling back at you!

smartkitty

SimpliciTEA – The ninth and tenth were kinda meh in terms of strength, so I’d say that gong fu’d this tea has 8 good steeps in it. I’m not particularly used to CTG’s offerings, though, so it might be that with some tender loving care you can eke out a couple of more steeps.

With how much of a careless klutz I tend to be, I’m surprised I haven’t had more tea mishaps than I actually have. I mean, I once got a blister on the palm of my hand from my mactop. That said, I do tend to pay 500% attention whenever I’m handling my teapots and mugs collections.

SimpliciTEA

smartkitty: Thanks for responding.

Eight steepings is still impressive (even starting at 15")! I haven’t tried any of their tea, but I get the impression their tea is high quality.

I have a reputation for spilling things, but that was when I was living more of fast-paced life-style, impulsive, and oftentimes not paying attention to what I was doing. I rarely spills things these days (my wife may disagree, though!). I hear you; I also feel paying attention, and doing one thing at a time (I am one of those people who like to do a b-zillion things at once), helps to keep one out of harms way. : )

smartkitty

Oh, it’s certainly high quality tea! I’m happy to add to my collection of awesome tea.

I grew up watching my dad drop and break all sorts of things out of clumsiness. And having a couple of my favourite mugs broken by him and other people really taught me to take care of my own stuff. I didn’t want to add to the casualties. ;)

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Ninavampi

Sadly, I have to admit that I have poured hot water for tea on my fingers too at some point… Argh… Will try very very hard to never ever do it again!

SimpliciTEA

What a great word: ginormous!

Wow, you mention a tenth steeping, so how many total steepings actually yielded flavor?

I’ve had plenty of those burn moments, myself. I look at them as a kind of ‘tea war wound’, and chalk it up to experience (you know us men, some of us—well, Me at least—try to turn pain and hardship into something, erm, glorious, I guess.). So, what is the equivalent of ‘dumb blond’ for a male anyway? Because whatever it is, if you looked it up in the dictionary, you may very well see my picture smiling back at you!

smartkitty

SimpliciTEA – The ninth and tenth were kinda meh in terms of strength, so I’d say that gong fu’d this tea has 8 good steeps in it. I’m not particularly used to CTG’s offerings, though, so it might be that with some tender loving care you can eke out a couple of more steeps.

With how much of a careless klutz I tend to be, I’m surprised I haven’t had more tea mishaps than I actually have. I mean, I once got a blister on the palm of my hand from my mactop. That said, I do tend to pay 500% attention whenever I’m handling my teapots and mugs collections.

SimpliciTEA

smartkitty: Thanks for responding.

Eight steepings is still impressive (even starting at 15")! I haven’t tried any of their tea, but I get the impression their tea is high quality.

I have a reputation for spilling things, but that was when I was living more of fast-paced life-style, impulsive, and oftentimes not paying attention to what I was doing. I rarely spills things these days (my wife may disagree, though!). I hear you; I also feel paying attention, and doing one thing at a time (I am one of those people who like to do a b-zillion things at once), helps to keep one out of harms way. : )

smartkitty

Oh, it’s certainly high quality tea! I’m happy to add to my collection of awesome tea.

I grew up watching my dad drop and break all sorts of things out of clumsiness. And having a couple of my favourite mugs broken by him and other people really taught me to take care of my own stuff. I didn’t want to add to the casualties. ;)

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Bibliophile and language junkie. Now decidedly tea-crazed. Trying to convince The Boy that tea tastes like more than just hot water. Cat-lady and rat-lady in the making.

From San Juan, Puerto Rico. Adopted Bostonian. Current long-time Chicagoan. Up, up, up the ziggurat. Lickety-split!

I like an interesting tea, so I’m expanding my tea stash daily. As well as my teaware collection.

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