Brewing this in my Taiwanese pear-shaped unglazed purple-clay teapot (paired with a glass cha hai and a bone-china teacup). No scale or thermometer. In-line-filtered municipal (Santa Monica) water, a few moments off the boil from my electric kettle. Roughly a 2.5 hour workday session (my second with this tea).

60 second 1st steep: Pale arylide yellow liquid; gentle floral nose; slightly malty palate with hints of hay.

45 second 2nd steep: Color shifts to marigold; sweet nose with hints of peach and orange blossom; the roast suggests hazelnuts and adds a lingering dryness in the finish with some very low touches of cocoa or coffee (as indicated by Mountain Tea Co) and faded mint at the extreme edges of discernment – perhaps a touch of honey and milk as well, though these perceptions could be artifacts of the creamy mouth-feel.

45 second 3rd steep: Slightly paler – shifting to a Mikado yellow now; the leaves are faintly vegetal and also smell something like ink; the honey/milk flavor resolves to caramel-topped custard. I’ve started seasoning this teapot with dark roast/high fire oolong – if a bit more of that quality had been absorbed, one wonders if the resulting liquor would resemble crème brûlée? It’s not far off now…

60 second 4th steep: Mikado yellow again; aroma/flavor much the same as before; vague hints of cinnamon deep into the aftertaste; osmanthus is subtle but pervasive – I can see how using too much would lead quickly to perfume/soap qualities – but here I think it harmonizes with (while not really accentuating) the floral notes of the tea itself.

75 second 5th steep: Much the same as before – perhaps a little less creamy now with slightly less contribution from the roast; hints of river stones at the back of the finish.

90 second 6th steep: Significantly paler – more of a Stil de grain yellow; leaves have fully unfurled at this point; need to push the leaf more aggressively.

2 minute 7th steep (using near-boiling water now): Stil de grain yellow again; aroma suggests marshmallow; vague citrus note appears – the osmanthus is fading more slowly than the tea ; lighter flavors and mouth-feel overall.

4 minute 8th steep: Color and mouth-feel only just holding; a last gasp of flavor, but the contribution of the roast is greatly diminished and the finish is increasingly floral.

Soft and delightful with a pleasant roast – my second-favorite “flavored” oolong (after Ten Ren’s King’s 409 dark roast oolong with ginseng) thus far.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 tsp 6 OZ / 180 ML

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Converted to Oolong and beyond starting around ’98 or so when I was hanging out at the Tao of Tea in Portland.

Expanded my experience with green teas when I moved in with room-mates who were Chinese scholars, workers at the Japanese Gardens (including the tea room), etc.

Always looking to improve my education, but will concede my pedestrian tastes (e.g. breakfast teas brewed strong enough to stand your spoon in).

Trying to focus more on the qualitative over the quantitative in my reviews, so you won’t see me give too many scores/ratings at the moment…


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