Finally, new tea! This one is the first of the set of four “single-size” samples I ordered from Steepster. As the description said there would be one each of white, green, oolong, and black teas, I was expecting the white tea to be a bai mu dan, but this turned out to be a welcome surprise.

The dry tea comes in tightly coiled little pearls, and the aroma—I’m not sure how to describe it, but it smells like nostalgia to me. Yes, a little floral, and a little grassy, but mostly it reminds me of the various nameless teas I would have while visiting relatives in China. There’s a slightly dusty, well-worn, people-friendly quality to it, and it seems to instantly summon one of those rainy summer afternoons in a room full of books.

I haven’t had much experience with white teas, so I approached this one with caution, even bringing out the thermometer that I usually neglect to use. The tea brews to a darker color than I imagined, and the leaves unfurl fully. The flavor is very different from what is suggested by the aroma. It’s light and delectably smooth, with a fruit-like sweetness that I spent a long time trying to identify, and finally realized was very similar to dried apricot. No astringency or “greenness” or course.

I only used half the package to make enough for a small cup (a mini-kettle-full of water), and I’m happy to be able to get a second serving out of this. In all, it’s probably the first white tea that I’ve really enjoyed. It also helps explain why I’ve dislike almost all flavored white tea I’ve tried—when the tea itself is this delicate, adding anything else is usually detrimental.

Flavors: Apricot, Flowers

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Biologist, aspiring writer, and a cat that learned to type.

A former, or rather reformed, purist.

I grew up in a very Asian family of academics with more teapots than friends (and they weren’t lacking in friends). For the first part of my life my experience with tea was limited to traditional Chinese styles, and while it made me appreciate tea as a part of daily life, there were many other styles and varieties of tea I didn’t know anything about. (And I admit I didn’t understand everything my family was saying about tea either…) Since then I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons and explore teas unusual or unfamiliar to me. But a good oolong is still the surest way to make for a perfect afternoon.

I usually won’t log teas I’ve reviewed before unless I have something to add, have changed the preparation, or if it’s a sipdown.

90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, might repurchase
70-80: fair to good, wouldn’t mind a cup now and then
60-70: not great, won’t actively warn people away from it
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: didn’t like it


Southern California

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