The third of the four Harney sample tins of oolong that I have mysteriously not written notes about previously.

The first thing I noticed about this was the leaves. They are delicate, spidery-twisty, and tippy — very visually interesting. They have a winey, almost darjeeling note to them in their dry form.

I did my usual multi-steeps in the gaiwan starting with 15 seconds.

The leaves steep up lemon-yellow, with a toasty, stone-fruit aroma and flavor. Also, there’s something nutty in the flavor, rather like pecans. There’s a freshness in the aftertaste, like the feel of an evergreen needle but without the aroma and flavor of one. The flavor is surprisingly mild, no pungent or sharp notes which I would have expected given the winey aroma of the dry leaves.

The wet leaves look twiggy, dark brown, sort of like the nest of a tiny bird. If they were fluffier they’d look like pipe tobacco. Steep 2 has a darker liquor, more toward amber, and a very peachy fragrance. The tea at first seems to remain surprisingly mild with a soft mouthfeel, but there’s a sharpness to the finish that isn’t quite a throat grab.

Fortunately, the sharpness receded by steep three and the mildness returned. A lovely floral note emerged in steep 4, as did a buttery mouthfeel. Still flavorful and soft in steep 5, and continued to be mild and peachy/pecany/aromatic.

Although I prefer green oolongs, this is a really nice dark one.

Also, I’ve caught 2 shiny beldums (beldi?) so far…

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Peach, Pecan, Stonefruits, Toasty, White Wine

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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