Sipdown no. 50 of 2016 (no. 261 total). A sample.

I’ve had this one for a while, obviously, but it was vacuum sealed in its little sample packet and unopened. So when I opened it, a lovely, green floral scent wafted from the packet.

It looks like your basic Ali Shan, green and rolled. This one had some visible stems.

After a rinse, I put this through five steeps in the gaiwan. I did my usual 15 seconds for the first and added five seconds each time, except for the last one where I sort of lost count and probably let it sit for more than a couple of minutes. I didn’t do my usual anal note-taking thing on each separate steep. It’s raining outside and I just wanted to sip and feel the warmth, and enjoy without thinking about it too much.

I haven’t had that many Ali Shans, but I like them. I think I prefer Ti Guanyins, but in general I just like the greener oolongs. This one had a delicate orchid-like aroma and flavor in the early steeps. The liquor started out barely yellow and progressed to a solid, light golden color. The last steep made me think of chestnuts. There’s an interesting note that is a little salty, which mixes things up a bit. But I had to think for a while about what that note was, so it isn’t at all so salty as to be distracting.

Very nice, and though I may regret later not having better notes, I quite enjoyed drinking this without the anal critic in me scribbling between steeps.

Flavors: Chestnut, Floral, Green, Orchids, Salt

195 °F / 90 °C

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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 tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

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 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; 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.

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.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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