I bought this tea fresh in 2018 along with a 2010 version to compare it to. But as often happens with ambitious tea experiments, this one fell by the wayside. However, I thought I’d better do it while I can still use Steepster, so I unearthed these teas and am ready to drink a lot of caffeine.

I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of honey, roast, orchid, and faint fruit. The first steep has notes of honey, roast, hops, grain, and orchid. It’s drying in the mouth, with a beautiful honey scent at the bottom of the cup. The second steep has stronger honey and roast notes, with faint lychee, wood, and what I would call green plant stems. The third and fourth steeps have honey, roast, hops, grain, and char in the foreground, with a lingering aftertaste of guava, lychee, roast, orchids, and honey.

To try and coax the complex flavours in the aftertaste into the actual tea, I lowered the temperature to 190F for the next couple steeps. This seems to have been a mistake, since though the roast is less pronounced, there’s more greenness and the honey/fruit is still not coming through. In the seventh steep, the honey and roast let some orchid, violet, grass, cream, and other florals make a faint appearance. The end of the session features roast, wood, tannins, and minerals.

Perhaps due to its age, this tea never really fulfilled the fruity and floral promise of its aroma and aftertaste. It’s quite heavily roasted, and the roast dominated the tasting experience for me. Other reviewers, who presumably had the tea when it was fresher, didn’t have the same impression, so maybe this is a consequence of two years in storage.

Flavors: Char, Cream, Drying, Floral, Grain, Grass, Guava, Honey, Hops, Lychee, Mineral, Orchid, Plant Stems, Roasted, Tannin, Violet, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 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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