93

This oolong tea from Chiang Rai Province in Thailand has been aged since 1995, making it just over 20 years old.

Out of the bag it has a strong and distinct aroma of blue cheese, so much so that I imagine I could convince the folks who think other folks take too much liberty with tasting notes that I’m not taking liberty at all just by putting it under their noses. “Wow, that really does smell like blue cheese,” they’d say, blutterbunged. And after the first infusion in a gaiwan, that note is still there in the aroma, but it is intertwined with a much more complex array of aromas, sweet grass, fig, and and plenty of must.

The taste of the first infusion is really complex too. I’m definitely getting fig. The liquor’s a beautiful honey gold color. Raw honey and dried fruit notes dominate the flavor as it cools, but there are musty wood notes underneath. This tea is complex in the way that an aged red wine is.

On the second infusion I’m getting more savory flavors. I can taste some char and roast now, and the flavor reminds me of cooked okra, but I still taste fig too. The mouthfeel is thick and just a bit dry.

By the third infusion, the flavor is already waning significantly despite a longer infusion time. There are some hints of vanilla bean but they are tucked away under the savory flavors mentioned before.

On the fourth infusion I infused it a good bit longer to draw out more flavor and overall the taste is more mellow now with subtle clove notes.

I find this tea very satisfying, in the way an advanced craft beer, wine, or cheese is satisfying. I am ready to go shamelessly highbrow with this tea some drenched thundering night, put on some slow jazz and a fire and just kick the world to the curb. I feel like this tea would comfort me when I’ve had a rough day. Purr away.

Flavors: Char, Clove, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Musty, Sweet, warm grass, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Bio

Hi there, fellow tea lovers.

My name’s Lion and I’m a Gongfu Cha practitioner, so I usually brew with a gaiwan for reviews unless there’s a more suitable brewing method, like using Japanese teawares for Japanese teas. I tend to stick to straight loose teas and scented teas in general, seldom dabbling in herbal and flavored teas. My favorite tea is Kenyan Silver Needle.

Aside from tea, I’m a generally creative person. I love to cook, write fiction, draw, decorate, garden, and do just about anything creative I can get my paws on.

Animals are really important to me. I’m a lion at heart, and I strive to better understand, respect, and appreciate other animals as best as I can. I advocate for better stewardship of wildlife and captive animals. We’ve still got a lot to learn.

For a long time I rated every tea I tried, but these days I don’t rate them unless they’re exceptional and deserving of a high rating. Here’s my rating breakdown for my reviews with ratings:

0 = Unpalatable, harsh
25 = Unenjoyable
50 = I’m indifferent
75 = Enjoyable, average
90+ = The best, would buy more
100 = Incredible, a favorite

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Kansas City, USA

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