The continuing adventures of the pu-erh n00b, in which the orchid theme from today’s oolong also continues.

The dry leaf of this one also smells like sour tree as did the Bana sheng of yesterday, but with a dusky, low note as well.

The package says to use lower heat for this one, so I went with 195F in the gaiwan for 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

I think when I started trying sheng in earnest, I expected something different. Mostly, I expected that the tea would undergo significant, transformative changes from steep to steep. What I’m finding is that hasn’t been the case. There are subtle changes in some instances, but I’ve been surprised at the consistency in flavor between steeps.

This one started out with a very light liquor — I’d call it white with a yellow tinge. Not white in the sense of white tea white, where it is pretty much the color of water, but something that gives off a definite sense of the color white. The color gets more yellow and a little darker with subsequent steeps. Around the third steep, I noticed a pinkish tinge.

The flavor is similar to that of the other Bana shengs I’ve had recently in that it makes me think of flax, but with a subtle difference in that it has a more floral quality and is a little sweeter. The tea has a soft, energizing mouthfeel.

The second steep brought out a nutty note, cashew perhaps. With more steeps, the flax aspect dissipated and the floral aspect became more prominent as the tea became generally milder, though on the fifth steep a weird step back toward sour came in, and in the seventh, a sugary, brown sugar note came out.

I wonder whether this would be more or less interesting with hotter water?

In any case, I enjoyed it, maybe just a tad more than the other shengs I’ve had from Bana. rating accordingly.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Nutty, Smooth, Sour, Sweet

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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