Camellia Sinensis

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drank Huiming by Camellia Sinensis
49 tasting notes

I bought this in 2016 in a vain attempt to make myself drink more green tea. The funny thing is that even after almost ignoring it for two years in my cupboard, this is pretty enjoyable. I steeped 4 g of tea in a 120 ml teapot at 185F for 20, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 240 seconds.

The first two steeps are mild, with notes of flowers and buttered greens. The third steep adds some peach skin, asparagus, and a slightly bitter aftertaste to the profile for a much more interesting cup. The next 45-second steep brings the tea into sencha territory, with asparagus, lettuce, broccoli, and astringent flavours and much less fruit and florals. The tea fades gradually after this, becoming grassy and vegetal.

This was a refreshing tea, especially the first few steeps. Longer steeps tend to bring out the veggies, so I might try keeping them shorter during my next attempt.

Flavors: Asparagus, Broccoli, Floral, Grass, Lettuce, Peach, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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drank Bai Hao by Camellia Sinensis
49 tasting notes

This is the 2016 harvest. In the bag, it has an aroma of muscatel, florals, and grass, kind of like a first flush Darjeeling. I steeped 5 g of leaf in an 85 ml teapot at 195F for 30, 20, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

I love this tea! The first steep has notes of muscatel, raisin, green grapes, grain, orange blossom, dried flowers, caramel, honey, and wood. It’s like a cross between a really muscatel-heavy first flush and a full-bodied Taiwanese oolong. Even though I used a fair amount of leaf for the size of my vessel, there’s no bitterness; instead, there’s a lovely mouthfeel and a long aftertaste. The subsequent steeps are pretty consistent, which is more than okay in my book. As the session goes on, however, the raisin note grows more prominent, and since I’m not a big raisin fan, this is my only tiny gripe with this tea.

This fascinating bai hao was a pleasure to drink. I loved its similarity to a Darjeeling, though I might be the only one to compare such dissimilar tea types. At $35 for 50 g, it’s certainly not a daily tea for me, but it’s a wonderful occasional indulgence.

Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Grain, Grapes, Honey, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Raisins, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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This is a nice, toasty dong ding for fall. I loved the batch I bought last year, and decided to get the spring 2017 version as part of a Taiwanese oolong sampler. This is what I’m reviewing here.

I steeped 6 g of leaf at 195F in a 120 ml teapot for 30, 20, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry leaf smells like cereal, char, and a hint of pineapple, all of which carry over to the first steep. This dong ding is almost too sweet, and the aroma at the bottom of the cup is fruitier than the tea itself. The second steep brings more pineapple and even some berries as the Camellia Sinensis website promises, but I don’t like the level of roast. It kind of tastes like charred corn, which is a weird juxtaposition with the fruity flavours. The liquor is also very drying.

The third steep, which I brewed at a slightly lower temperature, is more integrated, with less pronounced char and more grilled pineapple. The tea, however, still smells better than it tastes, and there’s already some grassiness creeping in. The next few steeps follow this pattern, both the good and not-so-good elements fading concurrently.

While this dong ding had some decent moments when steeped gongfu, I think it does better Western style, or perhaps this batch is just not as good as the spring 2016. This is too bad, as it smells like it has a lot of potential.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Berries, Char, Corn Husk, Grain, Pineapple, Sweet, Toasty

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Gong Fu!

So recently I decided to treat myself a get a few new Gaiwans from Camellia Sinensis, as well as some other teaware from both Bitterleaf and Teaware House. I’ve bought a lot of Western style teaware this year from DAVIDsTEA but not a lot of traditional stuff for Gong Fu, and I think getting some shiny new pieces could really help me get back into Gong Fu brewing on a more regular basis…

Along with my two Gaiwans, CS also sent along a sample of this tea! Jin Die is completely new to me altogether, so I thought it’d be something nice to explore today. Besides, it’s almost as if CS is going “New Gaiwan? Break it in with this tea”. I can’t argue with that, right? So here are my stream of consciousness notes from the session:

Dry aroma of the leave is very sweet; coming off as notes of caramel/cocoa and lots of fruity undertones. Stonefruit in particular, but orange/fresh citrus too. Really inviting and aromatic! Leaf if visually stunning as well; very golden, and delightfully pretty little curls.

Steep 1/Five Seconds:
- Really sweet right off the bat!
- Top notes of caramel/malt/sweet potato
- Body and finish are fruitier: strong orange notes, hints of stonefruit in a generic way
- Actually almost a candied orange peel kind of flavour?
- Orange zest/candied orange lingers well after the swallow

Steep 2/Seven Seconds:
- Aroma of the dry leaf is INSANE! Very sweet, fragrant with tons of citrus/orange
- Top notes still largely malt dominated
- Also notes of sweet rolls, honey, caramel, sweet potato
- Body is SUPER fruit heavy: a mix of full bodied orange, raisin, dates
- Also Grand Marnier liquor (which I know is orange too, but still…)

Steep 3/Ten Seconds
- I’ve started snacking on plain, unsalted/flavoured pecans in between infusions
- This adds a different sort of sweetness to the top of the sips; pleasantly nutty addition
- And almost a “maple” quality
- LOTS of malt to the top of this infusion, sort of ‘spilling’ out into the body too
- Less of the honey/caramel sweetness of the first two infusions
- Body of the sip is equal parts malt/raisin/stonefruit
- And then TONS of orange that coats the whole surface of my mouth
- And lingers for such a beautifully long time

Steep 4/Fifteen Seconds
- A little bit tannic at the start of the sip
- This small degree of bite/astringency is the first I’ve experienced thus far
- Otherwise the flavour profile remains the same from last infusion
- Though perhaps a hint more raisin-like taste in the finish

Steep 5/Fifteen Seconds
- Less tannic/astringent, and less malt notes as well
- In fact, this is pretty much only the fruitier notes I’ve experienced
- In the same proportions as the last infusion, though
- And then a hint of complimentary nuttiness from the pecans I’m snacking on

Steep 6/Eighteen Seconds
- Steeped leaf smells like orange, honey, sweet potato, bread, and cinnamon
- In that order
- Infusion is less pleasant; very astringent/bitter which is disappointing
- And feels like it’s coming out of nowhere?
- Almost has a finish that tastes like the pithy part of an orange – bitter!
- Also a little peppery in the body and finish

Steep 7/Twenty Seconds
- Even more bitter/pithy tasting than the last infusion!
- Literally took a sip for my cup and did that kind of choking/gagging thing
- The one people in sitcoms do when they eat/drink something gross
- Only nice thing is that the finish is a little sweeter with floral orange notes
- The rest is TRASH
- Dumped it…

Steep 8/Twenty Seconds
- Still a little bitter/peppery but better; didn’t feel the need to dump this one
- Otherwise the same as last

Steep 9/Twenty-Five Seconds
- It’s not bad, but it’s kind of boring now?
- Not really bitter/astringent though but the present flavours are dull/flat
- Orange, malt, cinnamon, black pepper, raisin
- Yeah, calling this one as my last steep even though it’s not totally brewed out yet

Honestly, I’m probably never going to be a twenty steep kind of person. I just hit a point during my session where I either don’t like enough of the infusions back to back that I don’t want to continue brewing or I simply get bored. Today, it’s a little bit of both?

I also skimmed CS’s website description of this one and I found it very interesting they described it as vegetal ’cause at no point during this session did I really associate the flavour profile with those sort of notes. The closest I think you could get would be the peppery quality I experienced late into the session, but for me I was definitely thinking something more inline with like black pepper…

I don’t know where I want to rate this one overall; I greatly enjoyed the start of the session but the end of it wasn’t so great. I think that probably averages out to a just sort of mediocre session? I’m gonna hold off on rating though until I get a chance to revisit this one either Gong Fu again or just Western style. This session was a pretty nice way to kill a few hours of the afternoon though! Just very relaxing overall.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cinnamon, Dates, Floral, Honey, Malt, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pepper, Peppercorn, Raisins, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

Sakura Sushi

Thanks for this! I still haven’t opened mine up yet, so I’ll be referring to your review when I do!

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This tea is one of my absolute, all time favorites. First of all, the price for am organic tes of this quality is amazing. But mostly… the taste. This tea is perfect.
I like to drink green tea and white above all others. The subtle flavors mixed with the strong antioxidants properties have really got me hooked but whenever I feel like having a more flavorful afternoon tea, I turn to this little gem. Its taste is an acquired one I think: it’s very deep, much more intense than your typical sencha, yet it has none of the matcha bitterness to it. It hits you with a burst of spinach-like flavor and at the same time, has a sort of sweetness to it. The ending note is kind of wet (this is very hard to explain!), like seaweed perhaps, but without the saltiness.
The taste really lingers in the mouth. I especially like to use my senchado for this. It gives a much stronger liquor, of a beautiful, dark green color.
I assure you, you cannot regret this tea. It will leave you wanting more!

Flavors: Seaweed, Spinach, Vegetables, Wet Moss

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drank Gaba Cha by Camellia Sinensis
49 tasting notes

I bought 25g of this tea at the end of 2015, and this is my last session with it. In the past, I steeped it Western style, with infusions of around 2, 4, and 6 minutes, and got tangy apple cider notes that made it perfect for colder weather. This time, I steeped my remaining 4g in a 120 ml teapot for 30, 25, 30, 50, 90, and 240 seconds.

Gongfu’ed, this seems more like a black tea than it did Western style. I get apple, sourness, tangy sweetness, and black-tea-like tannens on the first steep. It also has that gaba flavour I’m still not sure I enjoy. The second steep intensifies the apple and reduces the sourness, adding some floral and nutmeg touches.

Nothing much changes in the third and fourth steeps, though the spice note gets slightly stronger. It fades in the fifth steep, and by the sixth, the tannens are the dominant flavour. It’s worth noting that I don’t feel any effects from the GABA.

I think this tea works better Western style. Although it’s been compared to Bai Hao, possibly because they both have fruity flavours, the sourness makes it less appealing. I’ll probably go with Guei Fei instead if I want a less expensive alternative. Still, this was better than some other gaba teas I’ve had and it’s a decent easy drinker.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Floral, Nutmeg, Sour, Sweet, Tangy, Tannin

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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drank Hualien 1995 by Camellia Sinensis
428 tasting notes

Received a sample of this one from a teafriend in a swap! I failed to take particularly detailed notes, but the tea displayed nutty, coco flavors and sweetness, with very light fruity flavors in some steeps. It was a nice tea, but not my favorite aged oolong I’ve had. Nice stuff and a sample I definitely appreciate – always cool to have a birth-year tea.

Flavors: Cocoa, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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I received this tea as a free sample in my last Camellia Sinensis order. I followed the instructions on their website, steeping 4 teaspoons of leaf in 120 ml of 175F water for 30, 20, 40, 70, 120, 160, and 300 seconds.

These downy white buds are unique. The first steep is herbaceous, with notes of sage, basil, and other cooking-type herbs. There’s an underlying earthiness and sweetness that sort of balances it out, but the herbs are the dominant flavour. The second 20-second steep is quite like the first, but the third introduces more complexity as the sweetness increases. As a previous reviewer mentioned, the creaminess and sweetness make it taste kind of like marshmallows.

By the fourth steep, I can understand why the website states that this tea is spicy. The sage and other herbaceous notes, however, are still pretty overpowering. The tea peters out by the seventh steep, though I suspect I could pull a couple more out of it.

While I won’t be reaching for this tea regularly, it was fun to try. It has a much different taste profile than other white teas.

Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Herbaceous, Marshmallow, Sage, Spicy, Sweet, Thyme

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Tea Press!

Ok, I’m learning! Last time I thought this was way to weak/watery tasting so this time around I doubled the amount of leaf I originally had used, and gave it about three more minutes of steep time. The resulting brew was way more satisfying! Very sweet with, in my opinion, quite a distinct winter green flavour without that kind of harsh minty/menthol finishing that sometimes winter green flavoured things, like candy or gum, have. I also thought it had a touch of a herbaceous sort of undertone, which does make some sense to me since this is actual wintergreen leaf and not just a wintergreen flavoured tisane/blend.

I shared it with some coworkers too, without telling them what it was. Both agreed it was minty, but likened the flavour to bubblegum as well. I definitely didn’t personally see that beforehand but after having it pointed out to me I can see where they were coming from.

Song Pairing:

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So I think I first saw this on CS’s website about two years ago, and at that time I distinctly remember going “Oh, that looks wonderful! I must have it!”. However, for the next two years everytime I went to place an order it was out of stock…

That is until about a month ago, when I was finally able to add a bag of it into my cart! It was a very satisfying moment, since it was a long time waiting. That means there was some pressure for the tea to live up to the anticipation of getting it, though. Would it be as wonderful as I hoped it could be!? The answer to that question?


The smell of the dry leaf is fucking INCREDIBLE. Wintergreen is easily my favourite of all the mints, and this is rich and intense – just so, so, so lovely. The part that was lacking a bit for me was the flavour of the steeped up tisane; it was really mild/light. The flavour that was present was smooth and relaxing with a perfect amount of sweetness and cool, crisp finish. Very clean and lovely. I just wanted a lot MORE of it. That said, I have a feeling I may not have used enough of the leaf in my infusion. I did give it a solid steep time; I just think I needed to be more heavy handed measuring it out.

So, hope is not lost yet for that delicious, robust Wintergreen flavour – I’ll try again with double the tea leaf and see if I get something more in line with the intensity I’m craving. However, even if this is all that the tisane is able to produce flavour wise it’s not bad at all.

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Grabbed this one from one of my many sample boxes downstairs.

My flavoured samples are a bit of a mess right now, but the straight tea ones are actually really organized for the moment which is why I’m a little frustrated with myself for pulling this one out tonight! I don’t know why, by CS really likes giving me Darjeeling samples in my orders, so I’ve got a few from them with really similar packaging. I had actually meant to grab one I’ve already tried but they all look and sound the same at a glance. I just feel like I wont do this one justice tonight; my nose is REALLY stuffy and it’s definitely affecting my ability to taste flavour nuances pretty badly tonight…

Yeah; this is weird. I need to revisit this when I’m not feeling well because what I’m tasting is pretty odd/muddled and unclear. It kind of reminds me of vegetables/yellow bell peppers? But also malt, and… something else? The something else isn’t pleasant though; the more I sip it the more I think of, like, cardboard? I’m sure the tea doesn’t taste like cardboard though. I’m just not at top game/tasting capability right now.

Even bell pepper feels weird to me though; but skimming the company description for this one… maybe not? They don’t specify bell pepper, but CS does describe this as tasting like vegetables. I don’t know; personally it doesn’t remind me of a Darjeeling AT ALL right now. Everything is a little bit ‘bleh’ currently, though.

No rating for now.

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This was the highlight purchase of my first trip to Camellia Sinensis. Leaves are even, unbroken, well cared for. They show a mostly even darkness with occasional greens, signs of a good aging. Scents are light on the dry tea, nothing damp nor anything very green.

Overall, has a really pleasant Sheng flavor with some age on it but nothing major. Begins with a pleasant sourness, some bookstore-funk, some salt on it, brothiness, eventually sweet aromas, more vegetal (burdock, licorice root, dandelion root). Not majorly energizing, nor sedating, soothing if anything.

1.5tsp – 8oz


30s/210 – Hay, corn husk, oily mouthfeel initially, with a slightly sweet smell like nectar, oddly it makes you salivate like crazy. A background of beautiful aged Sheng – no must, basement, damp, only rich, deep, beautiful profile. Brothy, def. has a savory element early on on the back of the palate. Fall, Ocean Air, camphor salty, age on the back end then ends with a savory/sour note that lingers and moves forward in the mouth. Salt, savory, umami flavors linger long after you swallow.

30S/210 – Strong smells of umeboshi, young sheng, sour, bookstore in a good way, a fresh roll of seamless paper or cutting open a new watercolor block, sweet cream, slight notes of smoke and vegetables coming off. It is astringent in this cup, even at a slightly shorter steep time, with more age apparent on the tongue, flavors of black pepper, barley, saffron, again slight sour, still has the brothiness but becoming more Shu tasting vs savory. Beautiful nose. Cooling in the mouth, not full on camphor but in the direction. Still salty and rich.

40S/210 – On the nose – plum, honey, Dongfang Meiren, again bookstore in a good way but lesser than first 2 pours, wood, wet rocks, mountain air, salt is there but fading. No sweetness yet on flavor. The astringent flavors are lesser, still drying to the mouth though, a lot like the more alkaloidal root herbs (burdock, dried dandelion root, oak bark, and white willow bark.) Vegetal like green peppers meets dry hay meets dried burdock root. Deeper, muskier smells have given way to a cleaner, more nuanced aged flavor. Sour is fading too.

2m/212 – really let this steep go on but the rich fresh Sheng flavor came back and the sweetness arrived, so some kind of sugars dissolved that hadn’t yet and it definitely improved as I tasted it (a spoonful) at 1 minute. By minute 2, it was much more complex and pungent. Astringency is the same but sour is gone. Aged flavors still present but subdued. Aromas of wildflowers with flavors of fresh light leather, licorice root, celeriac, still a little salt oddly enough.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Broth, Camphor, Corn Husk, Hay, Honey, Ocean Air, Pleasantly Sour, Saffron, Salt, Sweet, Wet Rocks

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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This is my first 7581. For starters, I cannot for the life of me figure out what the D denotes in the naming by Camellia Sinensis, whom this tea is from, but their reputation is great, so I have no doubt this is authentic. 2004, from what I have found, was during an odd time for Pu Erh production, and for CCCP Pu Erh especially. From what I have sussed out, the Kunming factory, while not directly CCCP, is affiliated with and produced tea under their labels/management, however they are also known to have made some of the better and more consistent teas of the group. (

Anyways, on to the tea. I’ve brewed this 2-3 times now, each time learning the tea and making better choices. On it’s own it has some salt to it, not much wo dui dampness, but enough to have a velvety soil smell, like fresh forest floor. It is on the peppery side, with an astringency and a very slight ‘kick’ that makes it stand out for other shou. Better to use a little extra leaf although the chunks are somewhat delicate and prone to crumbling if you try to peel them apart.

As I’ve learned this tea, I’ve decided to throw in a punch of the Rishi Tea loose Pu erh, which has a much richer wo dui mustiness and a half to one whole Chrysanthemum pod. The Rishi Pu Erh provides a smokiness and mustiness that the original tea is lacking and the Chrysanthemum pod accentuates the spice characteristics that this tea has. All together, they balance to complement this fine red tea. I would definitely place this firmly on the spice/soil side of Pu Erh as opposed to the must/wo dui side.

It is a coating flavor, finishing at the back of the palate, and leaves a nice lingering astringency that is pleasant if you avoid overbrewing. Mildly drying, not a problem though.

Notes of mushrooms, broth, roasted root vegetables, forest floor, wet rocks, salt, minerality, wet metal, dry heartwoods, black pepper

Flavors: Black Pepper, Broth, Forest Floor, Metallic, Mineral, Mushrooms, Salt, Wet Rocks

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Tried this one a variety of ways this morning/afternoon and it’s pretty meh for me. Not sure if i’m missing the boat with this one but i’ll be setting aside the rest of this for friends to try in the hopes that they have a better experience with this. It’s not a BAD tea…just boring? uneventful? un exciting? :)

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Not sure how i feel about this one. I’m going to have to have this one again. It’s not unpleasant but i’m not sure it’s really doing anything for me. It has a sweetness to it that i like, but there’s an aftertaste that reminds me of something that i can’t quite place. I’ll have to explore this one a little more later :)

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This 2017 harvest is actually DJ-16, which I think means that it’s a slightly earlier invoice. In the bag, it smells like dried flowers, herbs, and stonefruit. After a 3:30 steep at 195F, these flavours become more prominent. There’s not a lot of astringency, and the peach and muscatel make this tea pleasantly sweet, balancing out the herbaceousness that I think is characteristic of FF Darjeelings.

A five-minute second steep is surprisingly good, though I’ve learned from experience not to push it beyond that to “extract all the flavour!”

Flavors: Drying, Floral, Herbaceous, Muscatel, Peach, Stonefruits

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 476 ML

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I’ve sampled every harvest of this oolong since I started drinking loose-leaf tea in 2015, so you could say it’s an all-time favourite. There are teas that are more complex, last longer, and get more attention online, but I keep coming back to this one because of its approachability.

Just as the description from Camellia Sinensis promises, it hits you with strong cherry, coconut, and wheatgrass notes. (I probably couldn’t have put my finger on the wheatgrass flavour if the website hadn’t mentioned it, but once you know what to look for, it’s unmistakable.) Unfortunately, the tea doesn’t have staying power, usually losing its fruitiness and turning vegetal by around the sixth gongfu steep. Alternatively, I can get three good Western infusions out of it. At $20 CAD for 50 grams, it’s also a decent price for an oolong from this area.

This is a wonderful everyday tea—not so complex that I need to think about it, and bold enough to stay interesting.

Flavors: Cherry, Coconut, Floral, Sweet, warm grass

0 OZ / 0 ML

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I’m transitioning from a day to a night shift sleeping schedule tonight… which means I’m ingesting an alarming amount of tea. I did an all at once side-by-side of a 1st, 2nd, and autumnal flush Darjeeling to get an initial feel for how they compare side by side. Because I’m sleepy and minimally functional I grandpa-style brewed them fairly cool.

This 1st flush was honestly my least favorite of the three flushes! It was the most citrusy and astringent, with a light colored and sweetly fragrant liqueur. I was surprised at any bitterness at all considering the temperature of the water but then again I’m particularly sensitive when it comes to bitterness. I double and triple checked the listing which claims this is a black tea. I haven’t had darjeeling before this experiment but I SWEAR this is a green with its light floral flavors, quick-to-go-bitter tendency and lack of any rounder notes. Is this typical of first flush Darjeelings? Is this just because I brewed it a little haphazardly? Am I going insane in my exhaustion?

A future gongfu session will secure a rating. Until then, I’ll call this one “meh.”

Flavors: Lemon Zest

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

I feel your pain. Being a shift worker can be tough sometimes.

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I’m transitioning from a day to a night shift sleeping schedule which means I’m ingesting an alarming amount of tea. I did a side-by-side of a 1st, 2nd, and autumnal flush Darjeeling to get an initial feel for how they compare side by side. Because I’m sleepy and minimally functional I grandpa-style brewed them fairly cool.

I found this to be the most enjoyable of the three flushes. A delightful light-toasty and nutty dry leaf aroma that made a pleasant amber liquid. Tastes like cherries, oak, nuts, brown sugar. Supposedly this one has decent muscatel notes but I still don’t have any idea what that means. . . it’s possible my extremely gentle hand with this brew wouldn’t have extracted that flavor this round anyway.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cherry Wood, Nuts, Wood

2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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I’m transitioning from a day to a night shift sleeping schedule which means I’m ingesting an alarming amount of tea. I did a side-by-side of a 1st, 2nd, and autumnal flush Darjeeling to get an initial feel for how they compare side by side. Because I’m sleepy and minimally functional I grandpa-style brewed them fairly cool.

I think this was the most interesting and complex of the three, almost like a blend of the first two! It had both caramel and citrus notes, not competing, almost taking turns on the palate. Very interesting.

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Wood

2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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