89

I would be all over this tea if I lived an area with a pronounced autumn.

May 2017 harvest. The dry leaf is gorgeous shades of brown and auburn cut leaves with some downy beige tips thrown in. It has that pungent, spicy darjeeling smell accompanied by a woody cocoa powder.

Going western, following recommended brewing parameter of 2 tsp at 195F. I tend to brew western in glass canning jars. 8 oz water. I got a solid 4 steeps this way at 3/5/8/12? minutes.

Liquor is very clean and soft, there’s some down floating around but I don’t think it adds a thickness. Definite notes of muscatel and orange blossom, followed by some cocoa, malt and freshly fallen autumn leaves. Poking through are mace, coriander seed, violet, gooseberry? Smells bright and juicy but also pleasantly musty/musky. The final steep remained lightly fruity but had a drying quality like that of straw or oak tannins.

This tea can go two ways: drink it quickly or take some more time to enjoy its nuances. It’s not so nuanced that it requires serious contemplation, though. I imagine it would be a perfect daily morning drinker on sunny autumn days when the deciduous trees are preparing for the impending cold. Or take a full thermos on a long hike in the woods. Autumn is approaching :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy — message me if you want to try something! I send international :)

Most enjoyment:

Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, sheng puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, GABA oolong. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes.

I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog, matcha latte and golden milk.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings, just nothing cloying. And no added sugars, sweeteners, candy or chocolate.

I abandoned both my preference reference and the recording of detailed steeping parameters in January 2020, favoring a focus on qualitative descriptions. At this point, I am still comfortable toggling the “Not/Recommended” button.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be daily drinker teas.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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