drank Ali Shan by Adagio Teas
1248 tasting notes

Accidental sipdown! (Sipdown no. 11 of the year 2014.)

When I last drank this, I had decided to make it in a pot the next time so I could get a full cup out of it. As I was pouring the leaves into my little pot (to fill it up to about a third, as I’ve read is what oolongs like), I suddenly ran out of pour. I.e., I had to pour all that was left of the sample into the pot to fill it to about a third, resulting in an accidental sipdown! I think I may have used a bit too much leaf, but it’s too late to change it now. ;-)

This time I also steeped significantly longer for the first steep, 2 minutes, because it’s more par for the course when going western style. Not an improvement, though. With shorter steeps, this had a really lovely roasty-buttery flavor. With the longer one it seems a little overcooked, lacking flavor in the middle of the sip with a bitter edge in the aftertaste.

I went much shorter for the second steep, about 45 seconds. Much better. The floral notes came out on this steep, particularly in the aroma. The bitterness I got on the first steep all but disappeared, and the aftertaste was pleasantly sweet. But somehow it still wasn’t as lovely as I recall it being the first time I sampled this. It could be that I’ve tea’d myself out for the day. I don’t blame the tea as I recall my first experience with it fondly.

Third steep, somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds. Much milder, and closer to my original memory of it and enough to give me my oolong fix. It could possibly go for additional steeps, but I’m good with three.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

First time I’ve ever heard of an accidental sipdown lol! You know you have too much tea when…the only way to get a sippdown is to make accidents happen…


Too true, too true. ;-)



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First time I’ve ever heard of an accidental sipdown lol! You know you have too much tea when…the only way to get a sippdown is to make accidents happen…


Too true, too true. ;-)



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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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