This sample packet has two “nests” in it, each individually wrapped.

Unwrapped, the leaves are light colored — they almost look like white tea leaves — and rather long. They’re tightly compressed. I rinsed and planned to let sit for 15 minutes before trying this yesterday, but then I ended up not getting to it. So the leaves sat overnight. I rinsed again this morning.

Then: gaiwan, boiling, 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

The liquor is a sort of golden apricot color in the early steeps. The flavor is mild. Not sweet exactly, but not bitter either.

I get the same general aromas and flavors that I get from other shengs — butter, white chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee — but also with a bit of smoke on this one.

The flavors are all quite smooth, which makes them seem a bit muted. But to me, that is an ok trade-off.

I am slowly but surely getting through my pu erh samples. It’s starting to seem like a bit of a chore now, here at the end, to get initial notes done on all of them.

On the flipside, I’m very much enjoying the result of having made it through my entire cupboard with initial tasting notes. Mostly this means I get to drink the tea and just enjoy it, without feeling the need to think about it enough to record a note. Sipdown notes are so much easier, since I only note the difference between my initial tasting note and the sipdown, if any.

In any case, I don’t know whether it’s that I don’t have a sophisticated enough palate, or whether I am not tasting the right teas, but I am finding that the shengs I taste all sort of taste the same. They mostly vary in whether there’s a smoky note or not, and in degrees of intensity of flavor.

I was expecting a much bigger difference in aroma and flavor from steep to steep than I typically get.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t like them. It just means it seems like a lot of trouble to go through multiple steeps for not very much ROI.

Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Coffee, Smoke, Toffee, White Chocolate

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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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