drank Purple Tip by Bana Tea Company
2036 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 11 of April 2019 (no. 60 of 2019 total, no. 548 grand total). A sample.

A while ago, I bought a packet of Bana pu erh samples. It turns out, these are the perfect size for a single tasting in my gaiwan.

I intended to taste and write about this one last weekend, but after rinsing and letting the leaves sit, I never got to it. So I let the leaves dry out, and then I tried again this weekend. I rinsed again and let set for more than 15 minutes.

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

The liquor started out almost opaque and gold, and with subsequent steeps became clear and amber. The mouthfeel had some interesting changes in the middle steeps. A couple of them were so smooth as to verge on oily.

The aroma and flavor didn’t change much from steep to steep. It’s a little smoky, a sort of dusky aspect. Also a bit more fruity than some others I’ve had, apple maybe? But the primary aroma and flavor was the buttery, white chocolate, cocoa flavor I’ve come to expect from shengs.

This one isn’t bitter, and isn’t sweet. But it has character.

Flavors: Apple, Butter, Cocoa, Smoke, 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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