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I actually received my samples about two and a half weeks ago, but have been so CRAZY busy with wedding stuff that I have had no time for tea (seriously- I had no tea for about six days solid, and it was awful D: ). But I survived.

Anyway, on to the specs:
Leaf appearance: Greeeeeen, with a hint of oxidization, in loosely rolled clumps. Very much the greenest oolong I have ever seen. They smell very grassy.
Steep temp and time: Around 197° F, for 3’12". I tend to steep my oolongs at below boiling for the first steep at least, because I find it brings out their natural nutty flavor that separates them from the green teas. Second steep was at full boil, steeped for the same time.

Liquor appearance: Very lightly green in color, a spring-ish green. :) Second steep came out slightly darker and a little bit browner, but not much. It smells like the same grassy aroma that came from the loose leaves, with hints of a honeysuckle-like fragrance.

Taste: In the first steep, the grassy flavor was at the forefront, the first thing that hit my to tongue. Then came the nuttiness that is characteristically oolong, with a touch of sweetness following right behind. This tea is sweet in the way that asparagus and other green vegetables are naturally sweet. Love it! And the more you let it cool off, the more the grassy, vegetal flavor just sort of falls away, leaving you a very tasty cup.
In the second steep, I didn’t get as much of the honeysuckle sweetness. The grassy vegetal flavor reigned supreme. To this, I added a TOUCH of unrefined cane sugar (I’m talking about 1/4 teaspoon), and that helped it taste better. (What can I say, I like my tea a little sweet. Sue me. XP) Again, as it cooled, the nutty oolong flavor came forward. It was very, very nice. :)

Okay, so, the verdict. I liked it pretty well. I tend to find that with oolong teas, I like the second steep more than the first, but not so with this tea. Maybe I needed to give it some more time, but I don’t know. I’ll try it again, for certain (the hubby will want a taste of this one). I didn’t try any more steeps today because of that. I also didn’t use as much tea as TeaVivre prescribed, so that was probably a factor.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I very clearly remember my first experience with tea. It was in a Target near my house, and my best friend handed me a cup of chai from the Starbucks inside the store and said, “Try this.” I believe I was about 12 at the time, and from then on, I was completely hooked.

Anyway, as my increasingly weirded out family will tell you, my obsession with tea has (almost) steadily escalated since then. I discovered the world of tea slowly, first with just chai, and then with bagged teas I could get from supermarkets and specialty stores, and then with loose leaf teas. I mostly shop for tea at Teavana, but I also patronize other local shops that I’ve discovered within the last couple of years. I’ve ordered a smattering of teas from a few online places, but I’m always leery of buying tea online, since most of how I select teas in person is by smell… unless I’m at The English Tea Room.

My favorite types of tea are blacks and flavored blacks. And oolongs. Right underneath that are rooiboses and whites, and then greens and herbals, and then mates. I’m always looking for a new favorite (I get on tea kicks, which are various lengths of time in which I’ll drink one or two teas religiously, and then I’ll switch), but I appreciate rediscovering old favorites. I like to blend teas, but I never store them that way, mostly because I like to leave myself options.

I prefer nutty/sweet/rich teas to fruity/light-flavored teas or bold/full-bodied teas, but I do try to drink some of everything to widen my palate. I’m always willing to try any tea at least once (except this one tea that Teavana mercifully discontinued… the loose leaf smelled like cheese, I swear). I do perhaps rate teas a little leniently… because I’m not very picky. I will try a tea at least three times before I pronounce that I hate it, and I will always focus on the good aspects of a tea rather than the bad. That’s just how I roll. :3

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Louisiana, USA

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