I made a mug of this with a heaped teaspoon, brewed for two and a half minutes, with the water allowed to go off the boil for several minutes.

In the mug it’s a dark brown brew, fairly opaque, but from intensity of colour, not cloudiness.

In the nose, I get a faint hint of pizza base and faint basic tea.

In the mouth, it doesn’t seem to have the sweetness of so many oolongs. There’s basic tea and something between butter and toffee, but neither very strong.

I’d describe this as quite an ordinary tea – nothing special about it. If I was given the cup without knowing what it was, I’d assume it was a black tea and, in fact, preparing it at such a low temperature feels ‘wrong’ to me.

The seller info doesn’t actually mention multiple infusions, but as it’s an oolong …

… I brewed a second infusion, same time and temperature.

In the mug it’s a little less intense in colour: a clear, slightly orange, dark brown.

In the nose it’s a little ‘cleaner’, having a slightly metallic addition to the pizza base.

In the mouth it’s, if anything, even more astringent – I’m, perhaps, using the wrong word here; I don’t mean mouth-puckering astringency, but something that really counters sweetness. Yet the basic tea and the butter-stroke-toffee elements are weaker; though there may be just the slightest hint of good, sweet hay (though ‘sweet’ doesn’t seem the right adjective in the context). That all sounds as if the brew is more complex and satisfying but, really, it’s blander. I’m still getting that impression of ‘wrongness’ – it just doesn’t ‘feel’ correct to be brewing this at a lower than boiling point temperature.

I brewed a third infusion, same way. The tea didn’t actually seem any weaker. The only difference to the last infusion was that the hint of hay had been replaced by a more grassy hint.

I brewed a fourth infusion, same way. This is weaker, plus paler in colour and I think I’ve gone one infusion further than the tea will take.

Bearing in mind what I said above about this not feeling right at the lower temperature, I brewed a fresh mug with boiling water, using a well-heaped teaspoon and steeping for three minutes.

In the mug it is an intense, dark brown, quite opaque in its intensity of colour with patches of oily film on the surface.

In the nose I’m getting touches of hay, pizza base and, perhaps, the tiniest hint of liquorice.

In the mouth there is good basic tea with touches of butter and an ‘unsweet’ hay or grass and perhaps the tiniest hint of liquorice.

I’d describe this as a reasonable, reasonably robust, black tea – though not one particularly to my taste – but not as an oolong. This strikes me as a tea to be drunk by the mug with your bacon and eggs for breakfast rather than one to be reverently sipped after brewing up in a gaiwan or yixing teapot.

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Happily retired male.

Started exploring ‘proper’ tea in March, 2010 after decades of PG Tips teabags. I was initially looking for ‘the perfect tea’; now I don’t want to find one – I’m so much more enjoying exploring the variety.

A confession: I take my tea with four sweeteners to a half-pint mug.
28/05/2012 – I’ve decided to wean myself off the sweeteners, starting this morning, so, three per mug instead of four (I’m getting a growing feeling that I’m failing to get the best out of some of the oolongs and greens I try and I intend getting a gaiwan and the appropriate little cups, and sweeteners don’t seem to be appropriate, there). 16/02/2013 – since New Year’s Day I’ve only been using two sweeteners. I’m struggling to get used to it, to be honest – some teas are more difficult than others.

How I make tea: either in a traditional teapot which holds enough for three half-pint mugs and has a removable infuser (London Teapot Company); or in a half-pint mug with an Agatha’s Bester filter. Sometimes I vaguely think about getting some nice, genteel cups and saucers …

Important: I measure the tea with plastic kitchen measuring spoons – teaspoon and half-teaspoon sizes – so when I say a ‘heaped teaspoon’, as the correct measure is a levelled one, I should probably be calling it ‘two teaspoons’!


Derbyshire/Staffordshire, UK.

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