After not enjoying my cup of roasted Tieguanyin yesterday, I switched back to some “plain Jane” Tieguanyin (more or less). Actually, this one is a little fancy and has a succulent honey flower aroma. I’ve never actually sniffed a chrysanthemum (ala Verdant description) before, but it’s a deep sweet flower smell.

The flavour is an interesting contrast; I thought it would be a syrupy sweet to taste but it’s more a “pasty” nut. Verdant’s soybean description works, but husked sunflower seeds also come to mind. The floral note has a syrupy “texture” to it but it isn’t what you’d call sweet, unless you’re thinking of the subtle sugars picked up in grass, tofu, or nuts. It’s altogether a very smooth, fluid cup that is at once mild but also contrarily rich (butter, vanilla).

As per Verdant’s description, this does taste like the (extremely mild) smell of marigolds but it definitely doesn’t taste like the “taste” of marigolds- at least not mine (spicy floral veggies). The steeped oolong leaves do kind of smell like the taste of marigolds though.

A spiced note comes into play in subsequent steeps. I can also see where the matcha note comes from. I’m chuckling that I want to write that this tea tastes like TEA, but when you think of that sweet, grassy, nutty, floral quality that good, fresh matcha can have you’ll get it (hopefully).

Steep Count: 6

Pine, nut and mineral notes are particularly noteworthy on steep 4 and onward, with the return of vegetal spice on steep 5.

(2016 fall harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nuts, Pepper, Pine, Soybean, Vanilla, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 5 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike or stay away from: apple, cocoa nibs, marine, peach, stevia, dairy products

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-84: A lovely tea, maybe of high quality or masterful blending, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Enjoyable, but I may have few minor problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Quality, consistency, blending, or personal preference problems are apparent, but I wouldn’t pass up a cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This is last year’s low-grade bancha mixed with rancid coconut, stale cocoa nibs, over-enthusiastic hibiscus, and stevia sweetener. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.


BC, Lower Mainland

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