89

Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my memory, as I have almost no notes on it

Experience buying from Seven Cups http://steepster.com/places/2824-seven-cups-online-tucson-arizona

Date of Purchase/Age of Leaf: harvest date: spring 2007; bought Spring 2011; first brewed up not long after getting it.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: like any standard Chinese red tea; very aromatic, almost smoky, and kinda like leather.

Brewing guidelines: Ceramic six-cup teapot, tea in large metallic tea-ball; stevia added.
I brewed this as I do any black tea (see my profile for details).

Color and aroma of tea liquor: < I can’t remember, I may update this the next time I brew this up, if I remember to, that is. >

Flavor of tea liquor: Like leather, but in a positive way (I wish I could better explain that). It has a smokiness similar to Seven Cups Lapsang, but it’s flavors are more subtle, and more complex.

Appearance of wet leaf: I remember being very impressed at the quality of the ‘leaf’, being comprised of mostly full, small-looking buds, with very few stems or broken pieces.

Value: Very pricy at full price (about $13/25grams) but I got it at 70% off (it is no longer available). Although I could not personally justify paying full price, depending on what you want in a tea—and given the fact that you could probably coax at least 5 good steepings out of it—it may even be worth it at full price (esp. as it’s organic).

Overall: This is, hands down, one the the most amazing black/red teas I have ever had (after trying at least a dozen different loose-leaf unflavored black/red teas by now). It may be the very first loose-leaf unflavored black/red teas I ever had, and it still has a special place in my black tea repertoire. The first time I steeped it I believe I steeped it seven times, and it was on the seventh that it finally gave out. I don’t have much of it but I have brewed it up here and there since I bought it. I brewed it up just last week, not long after trying Verdant’s Laoshan Northern Black, and I remember thinking, “This tea gives Verdant’s a good run for the money.” It has staying power, and it’s complex, aromatic, and unique; it’s simply amazing. It doesn’t look like they carry a keemun with this name anymore (with ‘Spring Dawn’ in the name) so this may be the last of this crop. So I’m holding on tightly to what I have.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

wow that certainly is expensive!! but it’s complex which in my books is the mark of a fantastic tea. So maybe it is worth it!

SimpliciTEA

I just looked at the back of the tin I keep this tea in (where I have the price) and it says, $6.28/1.75oz. That’s the price at 70% off. That’s about $12/oz. at full price. Still, try looking at it like this: a bag of tea from my local grocery store (not on sale, not including tax) costs about $3.30/20 bags per box = 16.5 cents a bag. And if you only use it once, then six bags = six cups of tea = ~$1.00. For one tsp (2 grams of tea) of Spring Dawn at $12/oz (assuming you get 14 servings per ounce (or 2 grams per serving) $12 oz/14 tsp = less than a $1.00 a tsp. Now, assuming you you can get six good steepings out of that 1 tsp (this may be pushing it, but I was able to do it) then you can get as much out of the Keemun Spring Dawn for about the same price as the six tea bags. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have six good cups of this tea then some store bought tea (even if the flavor on this Keemun decreases slightly with each steeping). It amazes me, but I assure you the the math is correct. It really demonstrates for me how a quality product can still be affordable. : – )

Indigobloom

hehe good point. The only downfall is that while resteeps provide excellent value, I’m not always able to use the leaves before they should be thrown out. I consume most of it at work, so sometimes I am only able to get through one or two steeps, due to circumstances that arise… but if I were able to drink at my leisure (as I did today!!) or perhaps share resteeps with a fellow tea drinker, then I think maybe that’d be more worth it. One day I’ll have my own business and will make time for tea at all hours :)

SimpliciTEA

I agree with you in the that downfall of choosing to go with loose-leaf tea is the labor and time involved to fully take advantage of its flavor potential. The way I see it (as I think my example illustrates), the choice to drink loose-leaf (even an expensive one like this Keemun) is more about how much time and effort we are willing to put into a good cup of tea, rather than price.

I hear you when you state that your work environment limits you. For me, it takes almost an entire day to really get the full flavor out of a quality tea (and lots of effort, too), as it did for me today with the six steepings I did on the Hunan Yellow Sprouting I just wrote the review for. Ah, the gift of Time. There certainly is only so much of it. Tea helps to remind me of how precious Time is, and tea reminds me to spend it wisely!

Indigobloom

Wisely yes… but you know what, when I have a few spare minutes there is nothing I’d rather do than make a cup! I don’t mind the time in takes up, rather I wish I had some (time or tea, interchangeable in this case!) when there isn’t any.
Making it to five or six infusions is always such a pleasure. Like a journey where you simply meander and gaze at the scenery. (ok now I am babbling haha)

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Indigobloom

wow that certainly is expensive!! but it’s complex which in my books is the mark of a fantastic tea. So maybe it is worth it!

SimpliciTEA

I just looked at the back of the tin I keep this tea in (where I have the price) and it says, $6.28/1.75oz. That’s the price at 70% off. That’s about $12/oz. at full price. Still, try looking at it like this: a bag of tea from my local grocery store (not on sale, not including tax) costs about $3.30/20 bags per box = 16.5 cents a bag. And if you only use it once, then six bags = six cups of tea = ~$1.00. For one tsp (2 grams of tea) of Spring Dawn at $12/oz (assuming you get 14 servings per ounce (or 2 grams per serving) $12 oz/14 tsp = less than a $1.00 a tsp. Now, assuming you you can get six good steepings out of that 1 tsp (this may be pushing it, but I was able to do it) then you can get as much out of the Keemun Spring Dawn for about the same price as the six tea bags. And I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have six good cups of this tea then some store bought tea (even if the flavor on this Keemun decreases slightly with each steeping). It amazes me, but I assure you the the math is correct. It really demonstrates for me how a quality product can still be affordable. : – )

Indigobloom

hehe good point. The only downfall is that while resteeps provide excellent value, I’m not always able to use the leaves before they should be thrown out. I consume most of it at work, so sometimes I am only able to get through one or two steeps, due to circumstances that arise… but if I were able to drink at my leisure (as I did today!!) or perhaps share resteeps with a fellow tea drinker, then I think maybe that’d be more worth it. One day I’ll have my own business and will make time for tea at all hours :)

SimpliciTEA

I agree with you in the that downfall of choosing to go with loose-leaf tea is the labor and time involved to fully take advantage of its flavor potential. The way I see it (as I think my example illustrates), the choice to drink loose-leaf (even an expensive one like this Keemun) is more about how much time and effort we are willing to put into a good cup of tea, rather than price.

I hear you when you state that your work environment limits you. For me, it takes almost an entire day to really get the full flavor out of a quality tea (and lots of effort, too), as it did for me today with the six steepings I did on the Hunan Yellow Sprouting I just wrote the review for. Ah, the gift of Time. There certainly is only so much of it. Tea helps to remind me of how precious Time is, and tea reminds me to spend it wisely!

Indigobloom

Wisely yes… but you know what, when I have a few spare minutes there is nothing I’d rather do than make a cup! I don’t mind the time in takes up, rather I wish I had some (time or tea, interchangeable in this case!) when there isn’t any.
Making it to five or six infusions is always such a pleasure. Like a journey where you simply meander and gaze at the scenery. (ok now I am babbling haha)

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(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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