7g with 175ml water in a zi ni rong tian yixing teapot dedicated to Phoenix Oolongs. Single rinse with immediate pour – 10 second contact time. Multiple infusions in rapid succession using 85 degree C water. Takes 10 seconds to pour from the pot, so settled infusion is only 0-10 seconds for first seven brews.

Leaves twisted and fairly intact, though they don’t look too handsome. Toasty and floral dry fragrance mostly unnoticeable until placed in warmed pot. Wet aroma is like walking into a greenhouse. Not the heady meshed, buttery florals of Taiwan oolongs – here they are distinct, crisp flower and greenery aromatics of such a multitude that it is really difficult to parse them out. Definitely orchid, carnation, and lily. Also some hyacinth, tulip, African violet, and just a touch of star jasmine. Greenery aromatics of wetland grasses, oak trees, ferns, and duckweed. There’s also a good amount of wet lava rock, clove, allspice, and yellow peach in there. Base aroma is toasty and sweet with a warm adobe brick mineral accent. Liquor carries more of the toasty notes than florals. Color is clear light yellow.

First three infusions are smooth, crisp, clean, and lean toward toasty dried grasses and hops aromas and flavors. The florals are there, but are sort of a hushed persistent chatter in the background. For the fourth infusion the florals let go of their restraint and come forward full force. Carnation is the most present in the cup, but lily takes over for the nose and afteraroma. Roasted chestnut, toasted poppyseed and crispy noodle characteristics come through in the sixth and seventh infusions and warm cut willow and cattail herbaceous notes mix with gentle spiciness similar to grains of paradise mixed with paprika and roasted chipotle. Bewitching balance of sweet, spice, herbal-bitter, mineral, and nectarine-astringent. Aroma is shifting and complex but nose, afteraroma and sweet aftertaste more heady than the draught. By the seventh infusion I’m really reminded of the smell and taste of the air while hiking through freshwater marsh on a mildly warm late summer evening.
Tea has much more to offer, but I’m being lulled to sleep by its comforting melody of aromas and flavors. I’ll have to refresh these leaves in a couple hours.

Yum yum, tasty toasty aromatic inviting smooth sensualness…

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Tea Geek.

My focus is on Chinese Wulongs and Pu’er but I’m all over the place. I tend to follow a seasonal progression of teas, following the freshness curve of greens through summer and rounding the cooler months out with toastier teas and Masala Chai.
With the exception of Masala Chai milk tea I’m a purist at heart. While I was originally snagged by Earl Grey with bergamot and make blends for gifts, I very rarely go for scented teas or herbals and can’t remember the last time I bought a tea that was blended. Pure tea is just more interesting to me than the product of mixing flavors. I do understand and appreciate their existence, though.

I upload some blends I make or special prep teas I nab under the company name “Green Raven Tea and Coffee” and the vast majority of these posts will be blends crafted to create flavors/characteristics not inherent in any one particular tea.
I’ve worked as a tea buyer for a smallish cafe and try to keep apprized of shifts in offerings even when not selecting for a business so I wind up sampling a ton of wholesale samples from a couple companies in particular but try to branch out to as many companies as I can find. Until Steepster integrates some form of comparative tasting feature, none of my cupping notes will make it onto my reviews unless wrapped up into something I feel compelled to drink multiple times on its own.

Since all the cool kids are doing it, here’s my big fat ratings scheme:

0-12…..Ugh, don’t wish on anyone
13-25….Bad, won’t touch again
26-37….Huh, not worth the effort
38-50….Meh, unremarkable
51-62….Okay, good tea
63-75….Tasty, really good tea
76-87….Yum, wonderful
88-100…Wow, really spectacular

There shouldn’t be many postings at all from me ranked 26-50 since unremarkable teas are unlikely to make me remark on ’em but to “earn” a score 37 or below I have to be disappointed to the point where others may ask for a refund or turn down offers even when free or offered as a gift (beyond stale).

I’ve got a ton of respect for anything rated 63 or higher.

For a tea to get 71 or more, it has to be pretty special and kinda blow my socks off.

The 90s are reserved for wonders that make me reevaluate my views of the world of tea as a whole.


Santa Rosa, California, United States

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