Final tea from a 3-cultivar sampler from 2018? Again, this is not a 2019 tea like the Tie Luo Han I logged from this sampler.

Lots of aromatics contained within the leaf. Dry, I could smell a distinct charcoal note, dry woodiness, sweetness like brown sugar, peanut shells, hints of osmanthus and floral blueberry. The warmed and rinsed leaf smelled very strongly of red cherry, red wine, dried fruits in general, berry syrup verging medicinal. The fruity character was sharp, not as full and round as what I’ve tasted in Bei Dou cultivar. Oh, and there was gardenia, which I don’t recall experiencing in any other yancha (though maybe Bai Ji Guan?).

This tea had a prominent tangy-mineral-astringent taste and a very dry and warm character that reminded of the few Rou Gui I’ve had. All the aromas of the leaf fleeted through the main tea taste, along with tobacco, blackberry and butter lettuce, which made for a complex, engaging experience. Dry aftertaste of vanilla custard and some residual flat bitterness in the back of the mouth. I did drink the rinse which tasted of cocoa and red wine.

The overall feeling of this tea was quite robust, energetic, active and dry-warming, qualities which would make a good mid-winter’s evening elixir.

Ban Tian Yao was a cultivar I had not tried before. After this session, I can see myself purchasing it again.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Charcoal, Cherry, Cocoa, Custard, Dried Fruit, Drying, Gardenias, Lettuce, Medicinal, Mineral, Osmanthus, Peanut, Red Wine, Roasted, Tangy, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood

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Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came 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.

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. I might have attention issues. One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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