171 Tasting Notes

75

Backlogging

Experience buying from Sanctuary T http://steepster.com/places/2940-sanctuary-t-online-new-york-new-york?visit=1642

I got some of this at the end of 2011. I don’t like it as much as Village Tea Co.’s Sweet Grace Vanilla Rooibos (I love the vanilla in that one), but as I like red rooibos, I like this tea: the rich aroma, the deep red color, the tobacco-y taste.

I find the pricing structure of this tea at SanctuaryT to be interesting. It’s $10 / 2 OZ, and $24 / 8 OZ. So it drops from being $5 / OZ when you buy 2 OZ, to $3 / OZ when you buy 8 OZ? I haven’t seen that big a spread on the price for buying only six ounces more anywhere that I can remember (SpecialTeas had a reasonable discount for buying two pounds over buying four ounces—I think it was 25%, but that makes more sense to me, because I’m buying a lot more). Don’t get me wrong, I like that we get a discount for buying more, something just doesn’t smell right to me about that pricing structure. And the prices on all of herbal teas I checked (at least seven across different herbal types) are all exactly the same price; that seems odd to me, too.

Even at $3 / OZ it’s not a very good price for an straight herbal rooibos tea (I think you can get it for about $2 / OZ elsewhere: I just checked and Culinary’s is $5 / 4 OZ). I don’t get it; unless we are being charged a premium because they are based in NYC. … When I went to post this I realized it’s organic (It’s not a part of it’s name on their website, but now I see the Organic trademark at the bottom of the description). Can it being organic make THAT big a difference in the price? I just checked again, and it looks like most of their herbal tea are organic, but not all. The Chocolate Honeybush is not organic (at least its not labeled as so), and it has the same price structure as the rest. What’s up with that!?

Pricing aside, I have determined that I like red rooibos; so the question now is, will I like green rooibos?

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I like red rooibos – I think I may like green more though.

Missy

I think green rooibos is more mellow and mannerly. Upton has a nice flavored green. If you like pear and cream, this may be a nice introduction to green rooibos. I have very little left so I can’t share at present. When we get some more, I’ll be happy to share.

http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/item.asp?itemID=BA04&from=search.asp
SimpliciTEA

Thanks for the comments.

Missy: Thank you for your kind offer to share your stash with me (when you get more), and for the link. $6.80 for 125 grams does sound like a good price on that BA04: Green Rooibos Poire Creme you provided a link to. That pear and cream green rooibos looks and sounds good, and yet I actually prefer to start with the ‘pure’ version of a tea the first time I try it. Still, that one is on my radar, now, and later I plan to see what their price for the pure stuff is (assuming they have some). I do appreciate hearing all of these good things about green rooibos, as I tend to like things that are green anyway!

Missy

Heh I’d send the last of it to you, but I know you brew in a large pot and like to share with your wife. There just isn’t enough for that. :(

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Backlogging

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought eight ounces of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off.

This was my first pu-erh, and with the exception of a blended pu-erh from Teavana, my only one to date. I don’t have much to say about it, except that I did only one steeping with one Tuo Cha in my teapot and three to four cups of boiling water for five minutes, almost a year ago (my notes show that I rinsed it), and I remember thinking the flavor was earthy, and the liquor was black (I have never before or since seen ‘black’ tea). I am simply stating this here for my records before I forget. I am deliberately staying away from pu-erh, because I have plenty already to keep the tea enthusiast in me happy concentrating on green and oolong teas (at the moment). But, some day, some day …

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Backlogging and based almost entirely on a few notes

Experience buying from Tea Trekker http://steepster.com/places/2820-tea-trekker-online-northampton-massachusetts

I got this as a free sample with an order from Tea Trekker in the spring of 2011.

This was a bud-only fresh spring green tea. The leaf was “dark green” while the wet leaf was “bright green!” I started a little cooler and shorter than my standard green tea steeping parameters, and I got four ‘good tasting’ steepings, and one more ‘decent tasting’ steeping out of it (for a total of five). “Tasty, vegetal.” That’s all the notes I have. I do remember being impressed with the freshness of the flavor and leaf (it was one of the first spring green teas I have ever tried), and at the vibrancy of the leaf.

It was originally $20 / 4 OZ, but now it’s one sale for $12 / 4 OZ either way, that seems to be a good price for a bud-only green tea.

Since I remember very little about it (and as it was one of my first spring green teas), I’m leaving off the rating.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Invader Zim

I’ve been eyeballing some of Tea Trekker’s green teas and I like that they offer samples, but the samples seem so expensive compared to the regular prices. Do you know if they offer sampler packs? I just ordered two from Life in Teacup and was hoping that Tea Trekker offered something similar.

SimpliciTEA

To my knowledge, no they don’t have any sample packs (however, it wouldn’t hurt to e-mail them as ask them what you want, and maybe they’ll knock off a few dollars if you order a bunch).

The way the price their samples is one of my biggest gripes about Tea Trekker: they are priced such that you may as well order a few ounces. One thing they have improved on though: until recently, their next step up from the sample was four OZ, now they have a two OZ option priced not much more per ounce than the four ounce option. I like that.

I am glad to hear you ordered from Life in Teacup! My experience is that Tea Trekker and Life in Teacup both offer quality green teas for very reasonable prices (and both have some steeply prices teas as well).

I’m looking forward to reading your reviews of the teas from Life in Teacup!

Invader Zim

I hate buying a large amount of tea when first trying it which is why I like samples, but I can’t justify their prices. I’ll have to email them and see if I can get some sort of discount.

SimpliciTEA

I’d be interested in hearing how they respond to your request (you can PM me) if you do e-mail them, and you are willing.

Invader Zim

Sure thing, I emailed them earlier today and am waiting a response. If they reply I’ll probably PM you.

SimpliciTEA

Great. Thanks!

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Backlogging and based on my memory and a few notes

Experience buying from Tea Trekker http://steepster.com/places/2820-tea-trekker-online-northampton-massachusetts

I bought four ounces of this back in the spring of 2011, and I have been brewing it off-and-on since then with temperatures a little lower than the ones I normally use for any other black tea.

I have had at least four Darjeelings to date. Here are my notes (almost verbatim): “Good flavor, not too brisk; good color. (My wife) and I really liked it. Muscatel → distinctive – floral? Beautiful clear amber color. Not bitter or astringent. Uplifting finish.” I started my first steep at 190F, otherwise I used my standard black tea parameters while steeping; my notes show that I got two good steepings and a third that was noted as, “mild, but still tasty”; I must have stopped at three.

I have noticed that Darjeelings do not seem to do very well with multiple steepings, beyond say two or three, and as cost conscience as I am, I prefer to get lots of steepings out of a tea that goes for $5 or more (I have been able to get five good steepings out of a number of quality Chinese red teas). I am intrigued by the various subtleties in the first and second flush Darjeelings, but still don’t feel I have to have a FF Darjeeling in my cupboard.

This is my first FF Darjeeling, so I’m leaving off the rating.

(I still have some of this, so I may update this review at a later time).

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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74

Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-a-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts

I wasn’t originally going to do a review for this until I brewed it up next, but, why not do a preliminary review now?

I bought an ounce this tea and received it just last weekend from Life in Teacup, brewing it up this this morning. I tried a sample of the 2011 harvest last fall, and found it good enough to warrant buying and trying an ounce of the fresh stuff this year. It looks, smells and tastes a lot like Verdant Tea’s Early Summer Laoshan green tea, except that this one doesn’t hold up on the flavor through multiple steepings as well, and the wet leaf has lots of broken leaves (making me realize this is an exception to a note I made in a review of Teavivre’s tea, stating that LiT’s green Teas never have broken pieces in them. Ooops!).

I brewed it as I do the Early Summer Laoshan, starting at 180F for two minutes. It has pretty good flavor, but not quite as good as Teavivre’s Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng we had yesterday, and not as good as I remember the Early Summer Laoshan tasting (I hope to brew that one up tomorrow to compare). It had decent flavor up through three steepings and a bit of flavor on the forth. For a decent tasting fresh green tea it’s a good value ($2.50 / OZ).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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79

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

After Angel sent me a PM requesting I review a group of selected tea samples she was willing to send me, I requested this particular spring green tea to try out as well (along with one other), and she willingly sent it along with the rest. Thank you Angel and Teavivre!

Just this weekend I received a package with all ten samples of the teas she said she would send (yay!), each weighing roughly 15 grams. This particular spring green tea is advertized as being harvested on March 6, 2012. I brewed this up the morning after I received the package, and I am excited to try the other green teas soon (there are two others). I am writing this review from my notes and from my very recent memory of drinking it just yesterday (I don’t post reviews on Sundays).

Right away the appearance and aroma of the dry leaf blew me away, as it was a dark vibrant-green color, with a unbelievably strong vegetal aroma that seems to be characteristic of any fresh green tea. It was composed of very thin, wire-y looking leaves the shape of which reminded my somewhat of the roots of a tiny tree; it was unusual in appearance and I really liked that. So, we both got off to a great start. I used all but a tablespoon or so of the sample, estimating I had at least 10 grams of tea waiting patiently in my pot (and likely more like 12), and so I used only about five cups of water rather than my standard six cups in my glass Bodum teapot, such that the leaf was free to roam, and I added my standard amount of Stevia. I held a few grams back in case I feel the need to brew it up later in my new gaiwan.

Wet the leaf smelled like what I imagine fresh cut spinach would smell like: a fresh, strong, vegetal aroma. I believe the color of the tea liquor was light green. The leaves were mostly on the bottom for most steepings, but on the second I remember some of the leaf moving to the top while steeping. It has a good smelling, fresh aroma (although I was sniffing it while steeping, I basically went by the timer). I decided to start the first steeping at a little higher temperature than I normally do (180F), and a little longer (1.5 minutes), rather than my standard 170F, one minute, because I am finding hotter and longer tends to be better for most of the green tea I have been brewing up lately.

Now to the flavor. Overall, although it was on the mild side, my wife and I both enjoyed drinking it (and she can be a hard one to please when it comes to green tea, in my judgement, anyway). It had good flavor through three steepings and mild flavor on the forth. I used near-boiling water for a fifth (I like to push limits the first time I brew up a tea) and it was definitely flat tasting (my guess is I scorched the leaves). Still, three good steepings and a decent forth is more than I expect out of a tea at this price range ($10.90 / 3.5 OZ = a little over $3 / OZ). Very generally, the number of good steepings I expect to get out of a green tea is relative to its price: I expect at least one good steeping for $1 /OZ, two for $2 / OZ, etc. Maybe a little silly, but I am very cost conscious, and that’s an easy ‘value scale’ for me to remember and use.

Finally, the wet leaf. Again, the first time I brew up a whole-leaf Tea (not necessarily flavor-added ones), I like to do what I call a ‘leaf analysis’. I spread out the leaf on the counter, preferably where there is good light, give it a little time to dry, then pick through it, looking for patterns and oddities. I literally used to sort the parts into piles (by whole leaves, buds, bud-sets, stems, broken pieces, etc.); I know, talk about anal! But I found that was taking just a bit more time that I though was really necessary (it was sometimes taking more than fifteen minutes, and I even started taking photos of the sorted piles), so now I simply take a few minutes at most to sift through the wet leaf and look at the big picture: are there lots of torn/shriveled-looking pieces? Is the color and size of the leaves/buds generally uniform? Are there many stems? What really stands out the most?

So, in this particular tea I noticed right away that there were a surprising number of stems, and I mean long stems, some were even thick (not many), and there were a number of torn leaves, with few buds (or bud-sets). It reminded me of a lower-grade HSMF from an e-bay seller (China Cha Dao). I consider this leaf to be of a lower grade than most green teas I seen (practically none of Seven Cups, Jing Tea Shop, Verdant Tea, Life in Teacup or Tea Trekker Teas have had this many stems and torn pieces). Interesting and all (to me, anyway), but when it comes down to it flavor still matters the most. The wet leaf was at least uniform in color, and vibrant looking (which to me is a verification that it was indeed fresh), and still not unreasonable considering its price.

I liked just about everything about this tea, and I hope to purchase some later on this year. This is easily a tea I could drink everyday, and it turns out I can afford to drink it often at it’s very reasonable price. This is one of the best values for a fresh spring green tea I have ever come across (having looked at many dozens of green teas). I have been looking for an affordable, quality, fresh spring green tea from Teavivre, and as it turns out, this one fits the bill.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Missy

Yay for the new gaiwan!

Invader Zim

I too have noticed a lot of stems with Teavivre’s teas, but it’s not something I mind considering the flavor of the teas.

SimpliciTEA

MIssy: Yes! Yay! It was a gift from Gingko with my order from her that I received just last weekend. It is TINY (it only holds 3 OZ of water with the lid on, 4 if I pour water to the very top; so I am guessing it is defined a 4 OZ gaiwan). It’s not very practical for me to use it often, but it is stylish, and I love using it (I brewed up a Taiwan oolong in it yesterday). I’m going to want to get a full ‘sized-one’ one of these days, soon.

Invader Zim: I agree about the flavor being most important. From what I gather, lots of stems can be an indicator of lower quality leaf (my understanding is you get little, if any, flavor from the stems), AND YET, taste matters most. Still, I rated it at 79 rather then 80 because in my book the appearance of the leaf is a part of the overall experience of the Tea. Of course, not everyone would agree with me, I’m sure.

Missy

Wow! That’s pretty awesome she gifted you with a gaiwan. I think mine is 4 oz as well. I like the smaller size because it seems like you can get a bazillion steepings in gaiwans. I’m not sure I can actually hold all the tea were it to be much bigger. :D

SimpliciTEA

The thing I really didn’t like about brewing up such small amounts of tea , was pouring what felt like barely a ‘splash’ of water in my kettle, and bringing that to a boil. It seems like a lot of work for such a small amount of tea. Do you actually boil the 3 ounces in a kettle, or do you use something else like, gasp use a microwave to heat up the 3 oz water?

Bonnie

I pour the boiling water in a glass pot or you could use cast iron and cover with a large thick tea cozy which keeps the water hot over several pours. Usually this lasts 3 steepings then I reheat water.

SimpliciTEA

I just might try that; thanks, Bonnie!

Dylan Oxford

Yeah, that’s kind of why I don’t really appreciate Eastern style brewing like I should. I’m a big, thirsty American, it takes a long time to brew enough tea in my gaiwan to fill my 44 ounce cup!

Okay, that’s slightly facetious. My cup is only 20 ounces ;)

Bonnie

You need a tea I V

Missy

I tend to make tea for more than one person at a time so I add my 4 ounces to water I’m already boiling for some one else. To answer your question I think I would just boil up 4 ounces were I making tea just for me.

DaisyChubb

I’m with Bonnie (could I get that on a tshirt?) – I usually boil the water in my kettle, then pour it into one of my very heat resistant travel mugs. That keeps my water hot enough for 3-4 steepings in my 4oz container. Yum!

SimpliciTEA

Thanks, all! I’m a lot about efficiency (not always a good thing) so heating up enough water for at least three steepings (in my case here, nine ounces) makes sense for me. I’ve already got ideas of cups, mugs, etc. to us keep the water warm in.

I sometimes brew up enough oolong for my wife to drink with me, but I think she had a few that she thought had a ‘weird taste’, so she’s really hesitant to try more of them. I’m V E R Y … S L O W L Y trying to get her to come back around to the bright side of oolongs (but it seems to be a somewhat delicate matter).

Using gaiwans that are this small certainly makes sense for groups of people at tea tastings, tea parties, or whatever you want to call them.

Small as it is, I still really like it. I can’t wait to show my friends, as most are interested in learning about other cultures, so I think they will see the beauty in both it’s form and utility.

Twenty ounces? That’s a BIG dog! I’m with you Dylan, I like to drink LOTS of tea.

And I, too, like the idea of putting something like *Bonnie*’s post of, “You need a tea I V” on a T-shirt!

Missy

I won’t tell any one that the purple monstrosity Dylan obtained for my tea drinking pleasure actually holds more tea than his red and black monstrosity. This message will self destruct in 30 seconds.

SimpliciTEA

Monstrosities certainly do add personalty to a collection of teaware, especially when the big Dawgs (I’ve got a 32 OZ myself) sit next to the little Dawgs (like a 4 OZ gaiwan).

Missy

Lol I have to take a look at them side by side now. :)

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Backlogging and based on my memory and a few notes

Experience buying from Tea Trekker http://steepster.com/places/2820-tea-trekker-online-northampton-massachusetts

I bought four ounces of this back in the spring of 2011, and I have been brewing it off-and-on since then with temperatures a little lower than the ones I normally use for any other black tea.

I have had at least four Darjeelings to date. The first time I had this I thought it was harsh, but since then I have some to appreciate that distinctive muscatel flavor that seems to be characteristic of Darjeelings. Here is an interesting note about this tea: “I liked it better at room temperature.” I think the last time I brewed this one up I noticed a degradation in it’s flavor, so I hope to finish it up soon. It’s hard to say if I will buy any of these from Tea Trekker again; I may instead try a few samples from Upton or order a Darjeeling from H&S that my wife and I both enjoyed a sample of.

At this point I don’t feel I have to have a SF Darjeeling in my cupboard (I hope your not reading this, Excelsior) for a number of reasons (one being that I would rather stick to Chinese red teas). I have noticed that Darjeelings do not seem to do very well with multiple steepings, beyond say, two or three (I have been able to get five good steepings out of a number of quality Chinese red teas). This is my first SF Darjeeling, so I’m leaving off the rating.

(I still have some of this, so I may update this review at a later time).

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Excelsior

I agree. I can only get two steeps from the Darjeelings I have, and the there is a considerable loss of flavor on that second steep. So for large groups or if I want to drink a large amount of tea, I usually go with the Oolongs I still have from Taiwan. I can get 15+ steeps, and the 15-16th steep will still have flavor. I also like how the flavor changes during multiple steeps.

As for not having any SF Darjeelings, I take no offense. I have friends that are not too keen on Darjeelings and I cringe when they ask for milk and comment on how I should make the brew stronger. So for them, I have a nice tin of Cha Tai that goes very well with milk and sugar.

SimpliciTEA

Wow 15+ steeps on the Taiwan oolongs? I bet you have some of the really good stuff, though. Slowly, I am starting to get into the Taiwan High Mountain oolongs.

It’s great that you chose to comment on this tasting note (I didn’t know if you were reading them or not). I like hearing that you find that you can’t get many steepings out of a Darjeeling, either (so I know it’s not just me).

I still like Darjeelings, and plan to continue to explore them, but they are not as high priority as other teas are to me at this time (it doesn’t help that they are so expensive). Which reminds me, I have been keeping my eye on this online retailer https://www.assamteacompany.com/home.php because they have some reasonably priced Darjeelings, and when I order from them I feel I am ordering from a retailer that is ‘at the source, so-to-speak. I hope to order from them sometime (as they are have some Darjeelings that are ’green’—as in non-oxidized), possibly next year.

Excelsior

The 15+ steepings amounted to 5 liters of tea. We emptied my parents 4 liter electric water heater, added another liter and ended up draining that as well. I’ll try to post my review of the 2012 FF Ambootia over the weekend. For an oxidized Darjeeling, the taste was as green as it gets.

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Backlogging

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought eight ounces of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off.
This was my first Honeybush. The rich red color in the pot blew me away. Although initially I found it so different than anything else I had ever had, over time I came to appreciate the tobacco-like flavor and aroma of it (my wife, sadly, has not). I have had red rooiboss since then, and I seem to prefer it over this honeybush. I will leave off the rating (this being my first honeybush, and since I have yet to try any other ‘unflavored’ ones).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Java OP by SpecialTeas
171 tasting notes

Backlogging

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought two pounds of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off (I think we paid roughly $6 for it; yeah, that makes it less than $0.20 /OZ; I don’t think we’ll ever get a tea for less than that).

I think I only brewed it once on it’s own. It was decent tasting. It was also my first loose-leaf black tea. From then on out I have been ‘blending’ it with the flavor-added black teas we have, usually in a ratio of 2 parts flavor-added tea to 1 part Java OP (I have also blended it as 1-1); it seems to blend very well with every tea I’ve tried, such that I can’t tell the difference between not using it and using it ( I always brew up any flavor-added tea w/o the Java the first time). That helps to ‘stretch’ our flavor-added black teas. For that, I am really glad we found this tea! We still have plenty of it (it takes a long time to go through 32 ounces a few teaspoons at a time), and I think it will be around for quite awhile longer. I am leaving off the rating (my first black tea).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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73

Backlogging and based entirely on my memory

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought two pounds of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off (I think we paid roughly $12 for it).

This was a flavor-added gunpowder green tea (although they don’t mention ‘gunpowder’ in the description). As with The Blanc de Cassis initially my wife and I liked it, but over time it lost it’s appeal (although it took much longer to lose it). It was still enjoyable after it lost it’s initial appeal, but just not as good as the other green teas we began drinking. Still, I more-or-less enjoyed the last pot I made of it (about a month ago). I tried slipping this one past my wife with the last pot, and right away she remembered not liking it (foiled again!).

I bought two pounds of it of it because it was inexpensive, and I was looking for a flavor-added green tea. It was a visually appealing tea with all of the colorful goodies in it. Overall I was satisfied with it (I think my wife was mixed). It did have a couple of pleasant spicy notes in both the aroma and the flavor which complimented what the gunpowder had to offer fairly well. The amazing thing about gunpowder is that it seems it has better longevity than most other green teas because of its shape: the leaves are wrapped into tiny pellets thus exposing very little surface area to the elements that often work to quickly degrade a green teas fresh flavor. Although some of the tea from SpecialTeas (and Teavana that we bought at the same time) were starting to taste flat, this one never did. Overall, this was a reasonably good flavor-added gunpowder.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Profile

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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