89

Playing count-the-oolongs left in the cupboard without tasting notes isn’t nearly as fun as the black tea and green tea exercise because it is just a reminder of my embarrassing excess.

I have 40 oolongs in the cupboard that have yet to be tasted or written about.

And that number is also misleading, because I have many more oolong samples that aren’t entered in the cupboard.

There’s only one thing to do: persist.

I’m a little upset about this one. I had it all ready to go for a tasting last weekend, sitting in the gaiwan. And then I got busy and forgot about it.

I was going to resume where I left off today, but discovered that my house cleaners tossed the unused tea and washed the gaiwan. Nice of them to wash the gaiwan, but I wish they’d realized it had tea that should be preserved in it.

So I have less of this than I thought I had, and because it is an ATR tea, there won’t be more.

Anyway. Steeped in the gaiwan at 195F with short steeps after rinsing starting at 15 seconds.

Have any of you found that your interest in tea has led to some insights about yourself?

Mine has.

I never thought of myself as a type A person, or as someone who is constantly on the go. I’ve always had an impatient streak, but not because I had too much to do and needed to get on to the next thing. Just because I’m wired that way. Which is amusing because I have a reputation at work for being much more patient than other people.

I do think of myself as someone who throws herself into whatever she’s doing rather completely, which pushes out of the picture time for other things. But eventually, because of that intensity I burn out and turn to one or more of those other things. Which is why I drop off of Steepster for months and years at a time.

But now, I think there’s a real possibility I have developed adult onset ADHD. I’m constantly interrupted by emails and instant messages at work, so I’m constantly having to shift mental focus from one thing to another. Also, the older I get the more I find I have to do. So sometimes I just have to cut things short to move on to the next thing that must get done.

Today I have to get my hair cut and colored, but I also want to work out and it’s almost noon already. So watch me totally fail to savor this tea for the number of steeps it probably deserves. Generally, I can sit through about 4 or 5 steeps without feeling compelled to move on to the next thing.

I am hopeful, though, that after I race through the exercise of tasting everything I have at least once, I’ll feel the internal pressure to do so lifted and will be able to revisit some of these from a more relaxed place.

So. About this tea.

In the packet, it has a floral, green aroma. Of the flowers listed in the description, I definitely smell orchid and lilac. I am not sure I know what narcissus smells like. I don’t smell jasmine, or at least I don’t smell it as a differentiated aroma. When I think of lily smell, I think of the vanilla of stargazer lilies and I don’t smell that here either.

The tea is a medium butter-golden yellow that darkens with longer steeps. It has a butter-cream, floral smell.

The flavor is everything I like about greener oolongs. Buttery, floral, flavorful but delicate. It’s mild, not astringent, not bitter. There are a couple of unexpected aspects to it, one of which is that I sort of taste the paper that’s described as a wrapping. It’s not nearly as prominent as the paper flavor in some decafs, though. And the other of which is that the tea doesn’t seem to have much of a grassy or vegetal quality. It’s pretty much flowered butter, all the time.

I’m really upset about the loss of the gaiwan full of tea now. I like this a lot.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Orchid, Paper

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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Bio

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.

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

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. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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