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I haven’t been around lately because I’m spending all my time dealing with business-related issues. Apparently, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is good marketing advice that I should have heeded long ago. I probably won’t be buying much tea until I can get things back on track. At least this will give me a chance to tackle my stash!

I bought this tea three years ago, felt indifferent about it, and forgot it. One thing in its favour is that it’s very pretty. I steeped about 5 g of loose, fuzzy golden curls in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at 190F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

I don’t know if it’s because of age, but this tea starts out very gentle, with notes of cocoa, honey, hay, malt, rye bread, barley sugar, and tannins on the first steep. By steep three, the flavour is intensifying and the malt and hay are taking centre stage, which is not really the direction I want it to go. By steep six, the chocolate has almost disappeared and it’s a typical Dian Hong, heavy on the malt and tannins and a bit drying. Cruelly, the leaves still smell like rye bread and chocolate, though these flavours no longer make it into the cup.

This tea started out as a sweet cocoa treat, but quickly morphed into your typical Dian Hong. While this isn’t bad per se, it wasn’t what I was expecting, and I understand why it’s now so old.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Hay, Honey, Malt, Tannin

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).

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