Backlogging and based almost entirely on my notes

Small update (6/14/2012): Today I did a complete second steeping session with this tea (five steepings), which finishes the sample, and I got the same results.

Experience buying from Verdant Tea http://steepster.com/places/2886-verdant-tea-online-minneapolis-minnesota

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping/Frequency Drank: David graciously included this sample with my last order at the end of 2011; brewed up March, 2012; presently, have done only one steeping session so far.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: aroma reminded me of roasted, salted-in-the-shell peanuts! It was fresher than what I remember the Cha Dao Wuyi oolongs to smell like; these leaves had the appearance of what I believe most Wuyi oolongs look like: large leaves, twisted—some bent—with a uniform dark-brown color.

Brewing guidelines: what I am guessing was three very generous TBSP dry tea (I used my hand to measure it, as its hard to get the leaves on a spoon) for three cups H2O; < my notes don’t state it but I believe I used my six-cup glass Bodum, leaf free to roam >; stevia added;
……….1st: 200F; 45"……………….mild, roasted
……….2nd: near boiling; 1.5’………a little fruitier, less roasted
……….3rd: Nearer boiling; 2.25’…what I judged to be the best steeping (less roast, more fruit)
……….4th: boiling; 3’………………..mellow, smooth, mildly-toasted, good!
……….5th: spot-on boiling; 5’…….very mild flavor, but good (“Reminds me of a roasted chili pepper”)

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: light caramel color (with a few bubbles on top); mildly roasted aroma.

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Quality leaf: mostly large, whole dark-green leaves with roasted edges; aroma was rich and malty.

Value: Currently $32 / 4 OZ; although to me this seems like a lot to pay for this tea, I don’t know the standard price of Wuyi oolongs, so it may be commensurate with the quality.

Overall: I’m not certain what that note of the 5th steeping means exactly (I know, a BIG downside to backlogging : } ), but I roasted some chili peppers years ago—having brought them back fresh from a trip to New Mexico—and they were simply delicious; evidently something about this tea reminded me of them. I’ve decided not to assign a numerical rating to my review because it seems as though, on the whole—having had a number of Wuyi oolongs—I don’t care for the heavily roasted flavor that seems to be indicative of the first two steepings. Although I liked some things about the last three steepings, the taste is not something I am looking for in a tea. I have faith that David carries only the best-of-the-best (or close enough to it), so I am guessing my not liking this tea is more about my personal preferences than the tea not being ‘good’. Who knows? Maybe somewhere down the road I will develop a liking for the more darkly roasted Wuyi Oolongs.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Tea_is_wisdom

I think you did an awesome job on this review. My personal feelings is if your going to review a tea and score it you have to do it according to what is the quality of the tea and does it hold true to it’s tea characteristic profile. I am glad your not grading a tea on well I didn’t like it because it’s not my taste in a tea. I think more reviewers need to understand quality of a tea and the tea’s profile that your drinking and knowing is it acting like it’s suppose to even if I don’t care for this type tea or is it just a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character. I am sorry for being long winded but hope you got what I was saying. I just think you did an amazing job and did it in the right way.

SimpliciTEA

I appreciate your kind words. : )

I think I got what you were saying; and you NEVER have to apologize to ME for being long-winded; I am almost continually ‘blowing wind’ all over the place. : }

“… if I don’t care for this type tea or is it just a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character.” Determining the difference between 1) I don’t care for this type tea, and 2) it’s a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character, is not necessarily easy. Just this afternoon I was talking to my wife about a veggie burger she had from Trader Joe’s; she didn’t like it; I though it was interesting, leaning toward good. I tried to get her to tell me why she didn’t like it, and I didn’t get a straight answer out of her.

Anyway, how do you know if you really ‘know’ (that’s looks strange, but it’s worded properly; I guess you could substitute the word ‘understand’ for the second ‘know’) what the teas true character is? Even that—being, the teas true character—is subjective.

I am toying with the idea of doing away with giving numerical ratings to any tea. But at least for now I plan to be more leery of assigning a numerical rating to a tea if I feel I don’t really know what to expect from. It’s a tricking business any way you look at it. What’s most important (as I see it) is that I am at least aware of the complications involved.

See, there I go again, blowin’ wind …..

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Comments

Tea_is_wisdom

I think you did an awesome job on this review. My personal feelings is if your going to review a tea and score it you have to do it according to what is the quality of the tea and does it hold true to it’s tea characteristic profile. I am glad your not grading a tea on well I didn’t like it because it’s not my taste in a tea. I think more reviewers need to understand quality of a tea and the tea’s profile that your drinking and knowing is it acting like it’s suppose to even if I don’t care for this type tea or is it just a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character. I am sorry for being long winded but hope you got what I was saying. I just think you did an amazing job and did it in the right way.

SimpliciTEA

I appreciate your kind words. : )

I think I got what you were saying; and you NEVER have to apologize to ME for being long-winded; I am almost continually ‘blowing wind’ all over the place. : }

“… if I don’t care for this type tea or is it just a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character.” Determining the difference between 1) I don’t care for this type tea, and 2) it’s a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character, is not necessarily easy. Just this afternoon I was talking to my wife about a veggie burger she had from Trader Joe’s; she didn’t like it; I though it was interesting, leaning toward good. I tried to get her to tell me why she didn’t like it, and I didn’t get a straight answer out of her.

Anyway, how do you know if you really ‘know’ (that’s looks strange, but it’s worded properly; I guess you could substitute the word ‘understand’ for the second ‘know’) what the teas true character is? Even that—being, the teas true character—is subjective.

I am toying with the idea of doing away with giving numerical ratings to any tea. But at least for now I plan to be more leery of assigning a numerical rating to a tea if I feel I don’t really know what to expect from. It’s a tricking business any way you look at it. What’s most important (as I see it) is that I am at least aware of the complications involved.

See, there I go again, blowin’ wind …..

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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Bio

(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

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