So glad I followed up on this one. Used my usual concentration in the same teapot and pretty much the same parameters as last time.

9g with 110ml water in zhu ni rong tian. Single rinse had 10 second contact including the just-shy-of 10 second pour using 88 degree C water. Infusions progressed (tack 10 seconds onto these for total contact time): 20sec-87C, 25sec-86C, 30sec-85C, 35sec-84C, 45sec-84C, 45sec-87C, 50sec-87C, 55sec-86C, 60sec-85C, 120sec-88C, 160sec-87C.

Still not great body for what I like, but much better than last time and more in balance with the levels of flavor and astringency (which gently coats the middle of the tongue rather than attacking just one region). Aroma more full and sort of like cinnamon French toast made with sourdough, with the spice, grain, egg, and slightly charry edge in nice balance. Most importantly, this time ‘round the warm aromatics are very nicely coupled with the crisp herbaceous, somewhat nutty and burnt wood flavor. Peanut shell, river rock, rice, and dry grass in aftertaste. Reminds me of chewing on a long piece of hay or stalk from flowering grass. Aroma is nice and heady with qualities evoking chocolate and a bit of coffee but not smelling like either… an ambiguous warming roasty-sweetness they all share. I get the same quality from pie in an oven that’s just on the verge of being overdone. Another not-there aroma and flavor is a peach similarity like exhaling after smelling a peach cobbler. Not fruity, but related to the heady ripe sweet-spiciness from cooked peaches buried in baked crust. Appears in aroma, aftertaste, and nose but not in your face at all like in other oolongs. Astringency isn’t nearly as medicinal as the crushed aspirin astringency I get in heavily roasted DHP, but has similar range and effect with just mellower intensity. Fourth infusion is a little sweet and delicious, with hints of cocoa powder and some florals peeking out. From the sixth infusion on a distinct toasted-rice sweet crisp taste is incorporated into the flavor. Liquor much richer yellow-orange than last round, taking on a bit more red through the fourth-sixth brews and on the eleventh it has an unbelievable (as in it’s really pretty but it looks almost fake) clear amber color with the luster of a jewel made of it.

Much happier with this round. Very satisfying with warming aroma and refreshing flavor working really well on a warm day. Really comforting by the 6th infusion. Makes me want cobbler with caramel though this goes really really well alongside extra sour sourdough bread.

Lesson learned about this tea – either go with the vendor’s recommended 3-5g per 175-230ml for 2 minutes at 90 degrees C or go all out for gongfu preparation. The middle gound is more difficult to pull off successfully.

185 °F / 85 °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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