I tried this last night in my little gaiwan, but I think I need more practice before I start writing notes about teas I made using it. I’m not convinced I used the right amount of leaves, for starters. Plus, I meant to look up steeping times as I know for the little gaiwans they’re pretty short. I just sort of winged it.

Today I’m going for more formality. This is another sample, I believe from the first set rather than the second. This one had been segregated into my oolong box and it wasn’t until I decided to be systematic about my TeaFrog tastings that I went looking for all of my remaining samples and found this one.

The leaves look similar in color to the Upton Formosa in its oolong sampler. There are some things that look like stems among the leaves, and some of the leaves are small and mulch like, but others are larger and more distinctively curly. I couldn’t really tell what they smelled like in the sample packet (in previous notes I’ve mentioned I have run into some trouble as the packets seem to have taken on the smell of the strongest smelling sample that they were packaged with. Unfortunately for me, I had very strong smelling fruit tisanes in each of my sample orders and now I smell fruit in all the sample packets even if it isn’t there…)

The tea brews to a dark amber, and smells toasty with fruity notes. After tasting, the aroma became more defined and yes, I can get a peachy note. It’s not a strong, fruity taste like a flavored peach tea, but it is reminiscent of the nut of the peach.

Second steep, three minutes. A sweetness has come out on this steep that mingles with the toastiness.

Third steep, four minutes. Still nice, but I’m not seeing a tremendous development from the last steep to this.

This was a pleasant and tasty drink, but it didn’t blow me away. I think if I didn’t already have some of the Upton Formosa samples I might be tempted, but this one didn’t surpass those or the Golden Moon for me.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I got the Canadian Berries with my sampler order and I have the same “smell leak” with my other bags. I’m grateful that it’s not affecting the taste, but I’m sad that I can’t get the true smell-o-leaves from sniffing the packets.

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I got the Canadian Berries with my sampler order and I have the same “smell leak” with my other bags. I’m grateful that it’s not affecting the taste, but I’m sad that I can’t get the true smell-o-leaves from sniffing the packets.

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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 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.

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. :-)


Bay Area, California



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