Used 2g with 60ml water in a small glazed ceramic gaiwan. Single rinse with infusions progressing 15 seconds, 20 seconds, and 30 seconds for 3rd-9th brews with 83 degree C water. 10th-12th infusions I used 86 degree C water for 1 minute.

The leaves are very pretty. Every single leaf has at least a little gold on it and pure golden buds make up the vast majority of the tea. Dry fragrance is kinda dusty and the hairs floating in the air around the tea are apt to make you sneeze. Dried apple and slight wood note. Wet leaves take on a gorgeous chocolate brown color with a yellow reflection. Wet leaf aroma much more dynamic, with cedar, apple, clove, cinnamon, and woodsmoke. Yeah, a bit of cocoa too, but I think I may have been looking for that characteristic subconsciously. Liquor is also gold, though in a deeper cup it looks like it would take on an orange color. I’m surprized by the clarity – I was expecting some haziness from leaf hairs suspended in the infusion, but I guess those that separated didn’t make it through my fine filter (same sieve doesn’t prevent bi luo chun or yin zhen from looking cloudy, though). Liquor aroma carries the notes of the wet leaves very well, but leaves the smoke characteristic behind.

Low end of full body or high end of moderate body. I was expecting to sacrifice some body with the lower temperature, but it’s still pretty thick. Plus side is the lower temp really did promote the expression of orchid and orange blossom floral notes in the nose. Really no hint of these in the liquor aroma, so it’s a pleasant surprise accent. Apple crisp sweetness pervades throughout. Leaves the tongue sweet as well, and the barely-noticeable astringency plays nicely off the lingering, mouthwatering finish. Wheat, barley, cinnamon, clove, raw sugar, baked pear, buckwheat crepe, kumquat, balsa and cedar woods, a bunch of different types of apples and apple-pear, and a touch of port-grape note. Flavor consistency is sort of remarkable… 12 infusions each expressing just varying degrees of the same notes. As it diminishes, there’s a buttermilk quality that comes out, again accented by apples but this time more of an apple strudel with cinnamon. Nice, comforting sweet taste to wrap up with. Though it leaves me with the impression of finishing a very small piece of apple pie with vanilla ice cream and now I want seconds…

Brewed a 13th infusion with 86 degree C water and forgot about it. Came back 9 minutes later for it – still smooth, crisp and tasty, though the water chestnut note I associate with leaves at the end of their run is prominent. Same basic flavor, but less body and spice notes barely noticeable.

Very tasty, soothing, smooth red tea. Prepared with hotter water it gives more pronounced flavors of wood and resin, but with cooler water you’ll be rewarded with lighter, more dynamic flavors and more of a mouthwatering effect.

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 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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