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The second of my three samples from Life In Teacup. Oooh, the leaf here is VERY similar to Samovar’s Four Seasons – like, identical in scent and appearance. I’m using 2.5g, about 1/3 of the sample, in my little 4oz glass pot, which I think makes this a gongfu-light style steeping :P

The liqueur is quite pale, rather like a white tea. The scent is lighter than Four Seasons, but has similar notes: butter, gardenias (at least, I gather that’s the particular floral scent, from what others have said – I have trouble getting past “flowers”). The taste follows – buttery, floral, fresh. Like eating buttered bread in a garden.

This is lovely, rich, and not at all harsh. I’m pleased, though I’d like the flavor to be a little stronger, so I’ll make the next steeps longer.

One last thing: at $2.70/oz this is an absolute STEAL, assuming it lasts through several steeps. Compare to Four Seasons at $10/oz.

ETA: This is definitely better with hotter water – deeper color, richer and fuller flavor

Steep 1, 1 minute, 205˚F
Steep 2, 1 minute, 195˚F
Steep 3, 1:45, boiling
Steep 4, 1:45, boiling
Steep 5, 2:15, boiling
Steep 6, 2:15, boiling

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

Have you ordered from Life in Teacup before? I ask because from what I read the minimum shipping amount is $22 because it is direct from China? I really like the Yunnan I tasted but I don’t think I want to order $100 worth of tea right now in order to gain the most out of $22 shipping…if I am indeed reading it right.

teabird

I haven’t, other than these samples, but I’m planning to. The way I read the shipping policy, here http://www.lifeinteacup.com/shipping is that it’s $5 flat in the US. I think the “Buying Directly from China” section is more for wholesalers.

JacquelineM

Oooooh OK! I was thinking that it couldn’t be right! I’m so glad I asked!

LauraR

Wow, I really like Four Seasons from Samovar and this is anything like that…YUM

teabird

Laura, I’d definitely recommend trying this then! They’re very similar, in my opinion (I think I’ll be ordering this instead when my Four Seasons runs out), and Life In Teacup offers free samples with $3 shipping. http://www.lifeinteacup.com/tea-samples

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JacquelineM

Have you ordered from Life in Teacup before? I ask because from what I read the minimum shipping amount is $22 because it is direct from China? I really like the Yunnan I tasted but I don’t think I want to order $100 worth of tea right now in order to gain the most out of $22 shipping…if I am indeed reading it right.

teabird

I haven’t, other than these samples, but I’m planning to. The way I read the shipping policy, here http://www.lifeinteacup.com/shipping is that it’s $5 flat in the US. I think the “Buying Directly from China” section is more for wholesalers.

JacquelineM

Oooooh OK! I was thinking that it couldn’t be right! I’m so glad I asked!

LauraR

Wow, I really like Four Seasons from Samovar and this is anything like that…YUM

teabird

Laura, I’d definitely recommend trying this then! They’re very similar, in my opinion (I think I’ll be ordering this instead when my Four Seasons runs out), and Life In Teacup offers free samples with $3 shipping. http://www.lifeinteacup.com/tea-samples

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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