Adventures in pu-erh part next. I opened up this sample today. I’m surprised I couldn’t find an entry for it? A lot of others of the former ATR pu-erhs do have entries. I hope I didn’t accidentally create a duplicate.

First, I want to say that it’s not all that easy to taste tea for note-writing purposes while also trying to execute your MCLE requirements. I thought it might be a good combo since MCLE lectures tend to be a bit dry, but it’s kind of hard to pay attention to both at once.

In any case, I tried this in the gaiwan at boiling after a rinse: 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 120, 240, 300, 360.

The leaves (since there’s no picture) are variegated in color, from brown to dark green to light brown with golden tips. They’re short, and not particularly full. Dry, they smell like earth and mushrooms. They’re fishy, but only very slightly and that goes away when they’re rinsed.

The first few steeps make a tea that is dark almost to the point of being opaque and brown-red in color. The tea’s color lightens noticeably with repeated steeps after the first few. By the fifth steep, the color is closer to mahogany. By the last, it’s a dark amber.

The tea is smooth through all the steeps, and has a quality that makes it come across as rich even when it is fading. The first few steeps have smells and tastes of leather, mushroom, molasses, and a slight mocha note.

By around steep four, the flavor becomes more woody and less sweet (though it is still somewhat sweet — and the sweetness really pops at the four minute steep before becoming subdued through the remainder).

Other than as mentioned, the tea is pretty consistent in its smoothness and flavor. It was enjoyable even as it started to fade.

I like it the best of the ATR shus I’ve had recently, though not nearly as much as the Life in Teacup.

Flavors: Earth, Fishy, Leather, Mocha, Molasses, Mushrooms, Wood


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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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