Such a yummy, easy-going tea. Incredibly forgiving to brew, this is terrific at low concentration for short steeps on up to high concentration with absurdly long ones. I just sat down and sipped this from a gaiwan while watching a movie, leaving this to brew for well beyond 15 minutes. Used 4g with an initial water volume of 125ml at 90 degrees Celsius and a quick rinse.

Dry fragrance is dried apricot and resinous hardwood in the bag, but when tossed in a prewarmed vessel, a heady fragrance of dried dates, figs, and kiwi skin mixed with the sort of lightly charred smokiness of a iron skillet. Wetted leaves release some musty, mossy aromas. Liquor aroma is sort of in-between a Keemun and Dian Hong. Tacky, somewhat sweet, woody. A touch of burning, wet thyme and rosemary and grilled pineapple.

Savory impression. At low concentrations or shortly after adding water when drinking from the brewing tea, it comes off as crisp, sweet, and light in most aspects. Cocoa-dusted toffee almonds with a lingering light basil note in the aftertaste. At higher concentrations, more resin is evident with notes of dates, dried apricot, sunflower seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, prune, cooked onions, poppyseed, clay, and barley atop a rich body. Aside from the light crispness and a somewhat tannin-like characteristic, this is very smooth. Hearty and belly-filling.

Easy to drink alongside food and can handle having junk mixed into it like milk and sweetener. Heck, it can even handle a bit of citrus (heaven forbid someone would purposefully add such a thing to good tea outside of experimentation) and hold a decent amount of flavor when brewed long and strong. I usually want to add this to any breakfast-style tea I try to blend for, but the lack of astringency and general mellow quality inevitably leaves this tea sapping the aggressive elements out of the teas it’s blended with.

195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more

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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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