I’ve had a handful of GABA teas and was not that impressed, but Derk’s glowing reviews made me want to try this version. Thanks, Derk, for the sample and for the recommendation to use more leaf than usual. I brewed 7 g of leaf in my 120 ml porcelain teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few long, uncounted steeps.

The dry aroma is of honey, nuts, baked pears, apples, raisins, and a slight GABA sourness. The aroma of the wet leaves is mouthwatering! The first steep has notes of honey, nuts, raisins, baked pear, apple, dates, and other dried fruit. It reminds me of a liquid fruit roll-up! Mild spices, brown sugar, and GABA funkiness emerge in steep two. The honey and nuts become slightly more prominent in the next couple steeps, although the tangy, slightly syrupy fruit is still the star. The raisins, dates, apple, and tangy dried fruit overpower the pear in steeps five and six, and I get malt, baked bread, and wood in the background. Finally, on the seventh steep, I notice cream and the sweet potato Derk mentioned. The session ends with malt, wood, almonds, earth, minerals, tannins, and those lovely dried fruits.

This is a treat of a tea. I’m still not a fan of that distinctive GABA taste, but love the array of fruits and the nutty, spicy, comforting profile. I’ll have to stew part of my remaining sample to make the most of those flavours.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cream, Dates, Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nuts, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Tannin, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 7 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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