511 Tasting Notes

My struggles with winter unfortunately continue. The temperatures plummeted and what started as an icy mix of precipitation gave way to a freak snowstorm that settled in yesterday and blanketed the area. By any realistic measure, 3 inches of snow isn’t much, but when you live out in the sticks where infrastructure is poor, it’s enough to seriously ruin your day. My internet and phone have both been touch and go and the roads are too treacherous to drive anywhere. I’ve been stuck at home for the better part of three days now. If anything good has come of this situation, I have been able to spend a lot of time with my cats and polish off some more tea samples. This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I know that many Southeast Asian teas tend to get a bad rap, but I found this to be a very good one. In all honesty, I found it to be better than some of the Taiwanese Jin Xuans I have tried.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of cream, butter, and vanilla underscored by hints of violet and hyacinth. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of custard, sugarcane, and lilac underscored by a hint of citrus. The first infusion brought out strong floral scents. The violet, lilac, and hyacinth were still there, but were joined by hints of daylily and honeysuckle. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of cream, butter, vanilla, and sugarcane that gave way to hints of custard, violet, and hyacinth before a somewhat grassy, vegetal finish. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger notes of hyacinth, violet, and grass. The notes of daylily and honeysuckle started to appear in the mouth too. New impressions of orange zest, minerals, bamboo shoots, daylily shoots, green apple, lettuce, and pear also started to appear. The later infusions were dominated by notes of cream, butter, grass, and lettuce balanced by subtler notes of minerals, sugarcane, and vanilla. On a couple of the later infusions, I was just barely able to pick up some lingering, almost ghostly floral qualities.

This was a very rich, sweet, smooth, and satisfying Jin Xuan. Compared to several Taiwanese Jin Xuans I have tried fairly recently, this was more complex, more durable, better textured, and less vegetal. I could see this tea making an excellent introduction to the Jin Xuan cultivar or a great daily drinker for established fans.

Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mineral, Pear, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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97

Have I mentioned that I harbor something of a ridiculous obsession with Dong Ding oolongs? I have? Good. Trying the Dong Ding Oolong-Heavy Roast from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company got me craving more Dong Ding, so I just had to crack open the Dong Ding sampler tin I got from Taiwan Tea Crafts last year. After a little hesitation, this was the tea I ended up trying. All I can say is, “Wow!” In my estimation, this was a fantastic Dong Ding oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of roasted peanut and cashew. The rinse brought out aromas of butter, toast, wood, vanilla, cream, and hints of something like ripe melon. The first infusion was a bit fruitier on the nose, though I still could not determine what exactly I was supposed to be picking up. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of roasted nuts on the entry (almond, cashew, and peanut) that gave way to smooth impressions of vanilla, cantaloupe, cream, butter, wood, and toast. In the background, I detected delicate hints of coffee and cocoa. The fade was vegetal with a slightly brothy umami quality. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of caramelized banana, grilled pineapple, toasted rice, brown sugar, coconut, and minerals. The coffee and cocoa notes were somewhat stronger. On the finish, the umami note was slightly amplified and the vague vegetal notes began to resemble a combination of damp grass, watercress, banana leaf, seaweed, and spinach. I also began to detect a slight citrusy kick just before the swallow that initially reminded me of lemon zest, but eventually morphed into more of a lemon candy note. The later infusions offered lingering notes of minerals, butter, cream, and toasted rice with some subtle nutty and vegetal undertones as well as a slight milkiness.

Extremely deep and complex, but also expertly balanced, superbly layered, and approachable, I can see why Taiwan Tea Crafts claims this as one of their signature offerings. This was easily one of the best Taiwanese oolongs I have ever had. For those of you who may not be sold on Dong Ding oolongs, give this one a try should you get the chance.

Flavors: Almond, banana, Butter, Cantaloupe, Cocoa, Coconut, Coffee, Cream, Grass, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Nutty, Peanut, Pineapple, Seaweed, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Medium roast?

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, this was one of those tricky ones. I’m assuming the roasting was light to light-medium. When I opened the pouch, I was greeted by well-formed dark jade pellets, so I was expecting something a little greener. When I smelled the leaves, all of a sudden I was like, “Where did the roast come from?”.

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82

This winter weather is killing me. It’s been up and down (mostly down) here for the past three weeks. Over that span of time, it has gone from sunny and warm, to bitterly cold and damp, back to sunny and warm, then to cool and wet, and now back to bitterly cold and damp. Naturally, it’s supposed to warm back up again in like three or four days. At this point, I’m guessing that my sinuses are going to keep going crazy all winter regardless of what I do, so expect me to keep whining about them for at least the next two months. I hope I’m wrong about that. Anyway, I finished the last of a sample pouch of this tea earlier in the day. My opinion of unflavored Jin Xuans has started to slip over the course of the past year, but I ended up enjoying this one more than I anticipated.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of cream, butter, and grass coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of sugarcane and vanilla. The first proper infusion brought out daylily and some stronger grassier and vegetal aromas. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of cream, butter, and grass accompanied by hints of spinach and sugarcane. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of cantaloupe, coriander, orchid, green apple, minerals, and something along the lines of lilac. I also noted stronger spinach and sugarcane notes as well as belatedly emerging vanilla, daylily blossom, and daylily shoot flavors in the mouth. The later infusions were mostly dominated by mineral, cream, grass, spinach, and daylily shoot notes with faint underpinnings of orchid, vanilla, and sugarcane.

Not a particularly dynamic or deep tea, but very drinkable and pleasant nonetheless, I enjoyed this tea’s fresh vegetal qualities and subtle floral, fruity sweetness. I did not find it to be as buttery or creamy as some of the other Jin Xuans I have tried, but that did not detract much from the overall drinking experience. This was definitely worth a try. I continue to be impressed by the Indonesian teas What-Cha sources.

Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
teepland

I can relate to the sinus problems—same here! :( Hope you’re feeling better soon.

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92

Prior to trying this tea, I had kind of established the idea that Ya Shi Xiang was just not my thing and never likely to be. I’m still at a point where I am learning about Dancong oolongs as I go, but so far, teas like Mi Lan Xiang and Da Wu Ye have been consistently more satisfying for me. This tea, however, convinced me that it was absolutely necessary for me to be more open-minded about Ya Shi Xiang Dancong oolongs. I found it to be a wonderfully mellow, subtle tea with an absolutely fantastic texture in the mouth.

Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I found that the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, vanilla, and flowers. After the rinse, I noted emerging scents of roasted almond, butter, rose, violet, and orange blossom. The first infusion brought out some scents of toast and caraway. In the mouth, I noted mild flavors of roasted almond, cream, butter, vanilla, toast, and orange blossom. Subsequent infusions brought out the caraway, rose, and violet notes in the mouth. I also began to catch emerging impressions of minerals, steamed milk, earth, pomelo, lemon zest, watercress, damp grass, cattail shoots, banana leaf, and toasted marshmallow. The later infusions were predictably mild, offering lingering notes of cream, vanilla, toast, and minerals up front and fleeting nutty and vegetal characteristics on the swallow.

I’m rather used to Ya Shi Xiang Dancongs that offer a blast of caraway, rye, and muddy vegetal and earthy notes through the majority of a gongfu session, but this tea was much more mellow and displayed a greater integration and a more sophisticated layering of aromas and flavors. Unlike many Dancongs, this tea was also neither soapy nor slippery in the mouth. Instead, it displayed a wonderfully creamy, milky mouthfeel. In the end, this tea just struck me as being so nice that I cannot help but recommend it highly.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Grass, Lemon Zest, Marshmallow, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Rose, Toast, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85

I swear I’m the type of person who is never going to pass up a Dong Ding oolong, especially a roasted one. I have a huge soft spot for such teas, and since I pretty much love Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s Old Style Dong Ding Oolong, there was no way I was not going to jump at the opportunity to try this roasted version. Now that I have had a couple days to process my feelings regarding this tea, I can safely say that I did not enjoy it as much as the Old Style Dong Ding Oolong. It was a very good tea, but it lacked the liveliness of its jade counterpart.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I found that the dry tea leaves offered aromas of butter, char, wood, and gentle spice. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of cream and roasted peanut underscored by hints of blueberry and black raspberry. The first infusion brought out some ghostly fig and plum aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered smooth, subtle notes of butter, cream, and char that were chased by hints of roasted peanut, dark fruit, and some sort of spice. Vague vegetal touches then emerged on the finish. Subsequent infusions brought out more distinctive notes of plum, fig, black raspberry, and blueberry on the palate. The generic spice notes also began to separate into more distinct nutmeg and cinnamon impressions. New impressions of baked bread, roasted almond, wood, cattail shoots, damp grass, vanilla, minerals, and roasted vegetables also emerged on these infusions. The later infusions retained a smooth mouthfeel with mild notes of cream, minerals, vanilla, damp grass, and cattail shoots underscored by some lingering notes of wood, char, roasted nuts, and surprisingly enough, black raspberry.

An interesting and satisfying roasted oolong, but more than a bit samey in terms of texture throughout the course of the session, this was far from a bad tea. I would have liked to see more dynamism overall, with a greater separation of aromas and flavors, but again, this was still a very good tea. Perhaps what separated it most from some of the other roasted Dong Ding oolongs I have tried is that it struck me as being fruitier, almost jammy, and I really was not expecting that. This one would definitely be worth a try for those interested in Taiwanese roasted oolongs.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blueberry, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Fig, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Peanut, Plums, Raspberry, Roasted, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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91

Alright, I’m finally getting around to posting this one. This was another sample I finished a week or so ago. I can’t remember the exact date I initially reviewed this one because I failed to put a date on my written notes. Regardless, this is actually the sort of tea you don’t run across all that often. From what I understand, Tieguanyin is not always harvested in the winter, and even when it is, the winter harvests do not often carry the best reputation. I could be wrong, but the general consensus seems to be that the spring and autumn harvests are best, the summer harvest is lower quality, and the winter harvest usually falls somewhere between the two extremes. What surprised me so much about this tea was that not only did I enjoy it to an almost ridiculous degree, but it was just so different from both the spring and autumn Tieguanyin harvests to which I am more accustomed.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of sweetgrass, parsley, butter, cream, and vanilla underscored by hints of lilac and violet. After the rinse, I found slightly stronger lilac and violet scents as well as an emerging aroma reminiscent of watercress. The first proper infusion brought out some hints of cooked greens (lettuce and spinach) on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered strongly vegetal notes (cooked greens, grass, parsley, watercress) on the entry that soon gave way to smoother notes of cream, butter, and vanilla. Toward the finish, I began to note emerging hints of pear and green apple. Oddly, there were no floral notes in the mouth, though there was a lingering vegetal sourness after the swallow. Subsequent infusions brought out subtle floral notes in the mouth. The tea also began to take on a number of fruitier characteristics. I started to note emerging impressions of sour apricot, sour plum, tart cherry, honeydew rind, and white grape accompanying somewhat stronger notes of green apple and pear. Impressions of radish and minerals also emerged on these infusions. The later infusions primarily emphasized butter, mineral, sour plum, and sour apricot notes balanced by lingering hints of pear and green apple. Surprisingly, I could not find much in the way of vegetal character toward the end of the session.

This was a very interesting tea in that it remained consistently pungent throughout the session, yet went from emphasizing vegetal notes to fruity ones. Compared to the more readily available spring and autumn Tieguanyins that seem to permeate the U.S. market these days, this was a truly unique drinking experience. I would recommend this tea highly to those looking for a punchier, more challenging Anxi oolong experience or those interested in some of the more uncommon oolongs.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeydew, Mineral, Parsley, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I liked this one more than most of the Tie Guan Yins I’ve had.

Evol Ving Ness

Fascinating evolution of flavours.

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91

I totally forgot to post a review of this tea. I finished a sample of it back around the second or third week of December and ended up moving on to other teas before reviewing it. I discovered review notes in my notebook last night and I am only now getting around to posting a formal review. I’m not all that familiar with Longfengxia oolongs, but I found this one to be a very nice Taiwanese high mountain oolong regardless.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I found aromas of butter, cream, and sugarcane balanced by some vegetal and floral tones. After the rinse, I noted emerging vanilla, custard, and cinnamon aromas. The first proper infusion began to better bring out some of the tea’s floral qualities, as I began to detect more distinct scents of orchid, lilac, and violet. In the mouth, the liquor offered lightly vegetal notes reminiscent of grass, spinach, and coriander as well as notes of cream, butter, sugarcane, and vanilla. There were also some slight floral and fruity notes toward the finish. Subsequent infusions brought out the floral notes in the mouth. I also began to note cinnamon on the palate. Aside from the expected lilac, violet, and orchid, I began to pick up narcissus and gardenia. New notes of lettuce, cucumber, seaweed, minerals, citrus (tangerine?), Asian pear, green apple, and lychee became detectable as well. The later infusions were mild and pleasantly smooth, offering lingering notes of butter, cream, minerals, grass, and seaweed accompanied by occasional hints of lychee, citrus, sugarcane, and orchard fruits (green apple and pear).

This was a delicate, delightfully complex oolong with a very nice body and solid longevity in the mouth. Probably one of the more consistent oolongs I have tried from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, I have no clue how it would compare to other Longfengxia oolongs, but as high mountain oolongs go, I found it to be very good. For me, it was a wonderful introduction to Longfengxia teas.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Lettuce, Lychee, Mineral, Narcissus, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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72

I had to take a few days off due to illness, but I’m back again and ready to post some more reviews. This last week has been so frustrating. I interviewed for a new job, but I ended up not getting it. Has anyone ever had one of those interviews where you can tell the interviewer has already made up their mind and isn’t taking you seriously? This was definitely one of those interviews for me. The interviewer did not even bother to show up on time for the interview. It was that bad. Then the brakes blew out on my car. Then I ended up once again dealing with sinusitis when the cold weather broke. It has not been fun. This was the tea that kept me company through most of the week. Like my week, I found it to be difficult and frustrating. Unlike my week, however, it was not necessarily bad overall.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas reminiscent of char, dark wood, cream, and stone fruit. After the rinse, I found aromas of wild mushroom, cooked spinach, and some sort of roasted vegetable. The first proper infusion brought out hints of burnt sugar on the nose. On the palate, the liquor expressed elusive notes of burnt sugar, cream, wild strawberry, peach, and pomelo backed by hints of dark wood and char with a ghostly floral quality on the finish. So, the first infusion was not all that much like the nose. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of rose, honey roasted peanut, roasted almond, orange zest, sweet cherry, earth, minerals, and slightly stronger impressions of wild mushroom and dark wood. The char notes started to recede into the background while the nose started to take on some citrusy qualities. I also started to note emerging impressions of roasted green beans, watercress, cooked spinach, and collard greens. Interestingly enough, the finish on each of these infusions started off with hints of char, burnt sugar, earth, and vegetables before a blast of floral notes took over, dominating the aftertaste. To me, it was like a blend of rose, chrysanthemum, and dandelion. There was also something of a cooling presence in the nose, mouth, and throat after the swallow. The later infusions were mostly dominated by notes of minerals, dark wood, earth, and a stronger char note up front, though fleeting underpinnings of wild mushroom, cooked spinach, honey roasted peanut, and roasted green beans were still just barely detectable before cream, burnt sugar, and those odd cooling sensations once again took over on the finish.

There was a lot going on with this tea, but it was hard to pin down throughout the session. Just to be sure I wasn’t making this harder than it needed to be, I brewed this Western and tried a slightly different gongfu preparation and got very similar results. Overall, this just struck me as being an odd and rather difficult tea. It was also a little rough around the edges; the aromas and flavors it displayed clashed in a few places, setting up some odd, awkward contrasts. Again, it was not bad, but it also was not great. I’m glad I took the opportunity to try it, and perhaps others will get more satisfaction from it than I did, but this did not offer everything I tend to look for in a Wuyi oolong.

Flavors: Almond, Char, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Dandelion, Dark Wood, Earth, Floral, Green Beans, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Rose, Spinach, Strawberry, Sugar, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
LuckyMe

When it rains it pours. Sorry to hear about your bad week, job interviews are nerve wracking enough without dealing with an interviewer who’s going to waste your time. If that’s any sign of the company culture, you’re probably better off somewhere else. Hope things get better

eastkyteaguy

LuckyMe, to give you a better idea of just how bad this interview was, allow me to lay it all out here. The job interview was in the middle of the week in a city two hours from where I currently live, so I had to take a day off work to drive there and interview. My interview was supposed to be at 2:00 PM, I showed up at the office and was signed in by 1:10 PM. I knew was way early, but I didn’t have time to go and grab an actual lunch before we began, so I just went in, signed in, and told the receptionist I was aware I was there early and there was no need to rush things. I was promptly told that both of my interviewers had left for lunch 10 minutes prior to my arrival and they should be back within the hour. Now, I’m very old school and I have always been brought up with the idea that 5 minutes is early, on time is late, and late by any stretch is unacceptable. Both of my interviewers came barreling through the door at 2:01 PM with food still in their hands, introduced themselves in a hurry, and told me to wait while they got themselves together. That ticked me off. Why weren’t they on time? If they had to be late, why didn’t they have things prepared in advance? To me, that just said, “We have no respect for the time, effort, and expense it took for you to submit an application, submit additional materials, get yourself together, and drive two hours out of your way to get here.” I then had to wait for them to (presumably) finish their food and get materials together for another 9 minutes. My interview that was supposed to start at 2:00 PM started at 2:10 PM. When I was actually called back for the interview, there was no chitchat, there were no preliminary questions about my educational background, previous work experiences, or my professional skill set, just a brief introduction to the company followed by a rote series of questions with no feedback or any other interaction in between. Several times I tried to expand on something and was cut off very curtly. When the interview ended, I was finally given the opportunity to ask questions and I was so flustered that I only got two questions in, forgot my third question, and before I could recover, I was literally shown the door. It was awful. Everything about it just screamed, “We’ve already made up our minds. This was just a formality. Thanks for allowing us to waste your time.”

Evol Ving Ness

Ugh. Sorry to hear about that less than pleasant experience. Here’s hoping that the next interview will be a far better fit for you.

mrmopar

People need to be prompt and honor set times on things like this.

Fjellrev

Oh no, I’m so sorry you’ve had such a rough week, but I really hope you’re feeling almost 100% better.

Those interviews can be so depressing. What a massive waste of your time and energy, and so incredibly disrespectful.

teepland

Yikes! I’m sorry to hear about the horrible interview! :( I’ve had some like that as well, where you recognize immediately that they are just doing a formality and already have someone picked out. It sucks. :( Hope the rest of the week goes better!

S.G. Sanders

Ugh, sorry to hear that. Hopefully everything will pick up shortly! :)

Indigobloom

That’s awful. Yuck!! If that happened to me, I’d wait a few months and post a review on glassdoor (waiting so that they couldn’t be sure who posted).
And hey, it isn’t only their pennance for wasting your time, you’d be saving others from engaging them as well… there is no excuse for disrespect like that! so not cool

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77

Here’s another backlogged review from a little earlier in the week. The third tea from my Shan Lin Xi oolong sampler, I found this one to be the least engaging of the group thus far. It was not a bad tea by any measure, it just lacked some of the depth and character that made both of the Shibi oolongs so appealing.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted floral, fruity aromas with hints of cream and vanilla. After the rinse, I found aromas of cream, vanilla, butter, and sugarcane balanced by hints of fresh flowers and orchard fruits. The first infusion brought out aromas of pear, gardenia, and magnolia. In the mouth, I found notes of cream, butter, vanilla, and sugarcane underscored by subtle hints of magnolia and gardenia. There was something of an indistinct vegetal character there too. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of orchid, lily, honeysuckle, green apple, white grape, grass, lettuce, custard, spinach, seaweed, and minerals to go with hints of cantaloupe and a slightly brothy umami note. Oh, and the pear eventually managed to show up in the mouth as well. The later infusions were mostly a wash of minerals, butter, lettuce, and spinach with hints of umami, seaweed, green apple, and pear.

This was not a bad tea, but I could not muster all that much enthusiasm for it after a point. I found that the floral notes faded quickly and I could not find enough in the later infusions to hold my interest. In the end, I’m glad I took the opportunity to try this tea, but it did not hold up to the stronger, sweeter Shibi oolongs Taiwan Tea Crafts offers.

Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, White Grapes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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86

I’m so glad to see Steepster back up. I have gone through a ton of samples in the past week and have been needing to get some more reviews up for at least a couple days. I finished off the remainder of a 50 gram pouch of this tea back toward the start of the week. Though I’m still not huge on white tea, I found this one to be quite appealing.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I found aromas of hay, dry leaves, and malt. After the rinse, I picked up emerging aromas of sweet corn and squash balanced by hints of smoke and melon. The first proper infusion brought out hints of citrus on the nose. On the palate, the liquor offered smooth and mild notes of hay, grass, zucchini, malt, and cream underscored by hints of lemon zest, sweet corn, and smoke. Subsequent infusions grew somewhat astringent while bringing out considerably stronger impressions of smoke, sweet corn, and lemon zest. I also began to find notes of butter, oats, straw, cucumber, minerals, almond, peanut, spring honey, basil, thyme, lime, and lettuce balanced by underlying notes of sour apricot, lettuce, seaweed, and honeydew. The tea washed out quickly (I still have not managed to effectively adapt my gongfu methods to white tea), as mineral notes became increasingly dominant after about the 50 second mark. However, I could still find a lingering astringency and fleeting impressions of herbs, citrus, sweet corn, hay, and lettuce on these final infusions.

Despite the fact that I went through a brief white tea phase in college, white tea has never really been my thing. I can appreciate it from time to time and would like to develop more of an appreciation for it, but at this point in time, I’m still not able to muster consistent enthusiasm for any type of white tea. That being said, I found a lot to like in this one, much more than I was expecting as a matter of fact. Aside from the fact that the way I brewed it caused it to fade sooner than anticipated, there was nothing really wrong with this tea.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Cream, Cucumber, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Honey, Honeydew, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Peanut, Seaweed, Smoke, Straw, Thyme, Zucchini

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

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