drank Huoshan Huang Ya by Imperial Tea Court
1241 tasting notes

I stopped by the Imperial Tea Court today and drank this in house. Gotta say, 9 years later, my impression of this tea echoes TeaGull’s. There was barely anything to it. Medium bodied, almost non-existent flavor that was kind of bamboo-grassy-alkaline with a hint of florals. No aroma. Resteep potential was low, like two or three. I did get a nice calming effect going on, though. I have had some good teas here but this one was subpar and didn’t seem to be enough leaf for the gaiwan volume.

I liked my dumplings more.

On the plus side, I walked by a vendor on Market St on my way to the streetcar. Dude was selling tea cups and pots that he beautifully glazes and for a decent price. Picked up a blue cup that looks like it has liquid in it when the light hits the glaze just right. I asked him if he was going to be selling at the SF Tea Fest this weekend but he said he didn’t know about it. Bummer.

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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.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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