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I chose this as the first tea to try from a tea swap with Mastress Alita (thanks!) based on her disdain for the perfume aroma (which is totally understandable).

Man, this tea has so much going for it but it really needs just a slight touch of creaminess to add to the experience and temper the forward florals. It’s very 3-dimensional. Like I can pick out distinct stacks of flavor and sensation in my mouth. I bet a lot of snobs might think this tea is unrefined and clunky. I concluded if I could find more of this tea, I’d like to use it as an instructional experience for people who are wanting to move past the beginners Taiwanese oolong and are comfortable with adventuring.

The dry leaves are super tiny nuggets that smell kind of like cheap white floral perfume, woody and floral sweet cinnamon, green wood, wet wood and woody peach. The majority of the nuggets opened quickly and fully after the second steep, revealing some of the most beautiful leaves I’ve ever seen. Most of them are pretty small with shades of copper, olive green, bronze, and brown. Looked damn fine in my purple clay gaiwan. This oolong is not picked as 2-4 leaf and a bud. It’s all pretty robust and small leaf with only 1 or 2 buds attached to the few stems present. Looks machine harvested.

The first steep started out thick leading into a pleasantly drying but not thin mouthfeel in the following steeps. I don’t know how else to describe it. At first, the aroma of the wet leaves really put me off because it smelled so strongly of cheap floral perfume. The liquor was thankfully not as strong in smell but stood in its own right throughout the whole session. By the time I got to the third steep, the perfume scent of the wet leaves separated into very distinct tastes in my mouth. The woody, floral cinnamon and woody peach of the dry leaf lined my whole mouth. Some mineral produced a tingling side-tongue and my saliva glands felt active but not producing. A light, bitter medicinal elderberry and black cherry went down my tongue. Florals stacked on top of my tongue and hit the roof of my mouth. It started with a base of bittersweet violet blanketing my tongue. Going up there was a penetrating orchid and at the top it was some kind of earthy base-y white floral with a very high note. Above that was a cooling sensation that opened my sinuses and allowed the white floral to float higher.

The cooling sensation eventually sat at the back of the tongue, along with that medicinal black cherry and elderberry. A very faint butteriness turned up mid-session at the top back of the mouth. The florals eventually mellowed. The bitterness was never overwhelming and despite oversteeping here and there, the liquor never became offensive. Toward the end, a light sweetness presented and salivation finally became noticeable. I ate a few cilantro leaves and that really amplified some wonderful flavors between tea and herb. The session faded away smoothly with 10 steeps.

I can’t wait to try the remaining 5 grams in a long-steep/higher-water-volume western style brew. I get a feeling that might produce something quite interesting and much more medicinal. For me, this isn’t an everyday tea. I was going to say I can’t figure out where it would fit in my life beyond an instructional tea but it’s certainly perking me up on this dreadful, um, cramping day. Warming and lightly relaxing.

Thanks again, Mastress Alita. It’s always nice for a tea to find a good home.

Flavors: Berries, Bitter, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Floral, Green Wood, Medicinal, Menthol, Mineral, Orchid, Orchids, Peach, Perfume, Sweet, Tannic, Violet, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Mastress Alita

I’m having a dreadful cramping day too.

Ya, this tea sort of came off to me like jasmine pearls, only with the jasmine scent/taste replaced by orchid. I personally found it a little too perfume-heady for my sensitive head. Since then Thunder Mountain Teas (she’s a local business up here in Boise, Idaho) is now locally sourcing a different oolong instead, and I like it much better. It’s still very floral in flavor, but doesn’t have that strong aroma attached to it.

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Mastress Alita

I’m having a dreadful cramping day too.

Ya, this tea sort of came off to me like jasmine pearls, only with the jasmine scent/taste replaced by orchid. I personally found it a little too perfume-heady for my sensitive head. Since then Thunder Mountain Teas (she’s a local business up here in Boise, Idaho) is now locally sourcing a different oolong instead, and I like it much better. It’s still very floral in flavor, but doesn’t have that strong aroma attached to it.

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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