This was one of my sipdowns from either the second half of July or the first half of August. Looking back over my session notes, I kind of feel that I may have been a bit hard on this tea, but honestly, some of the criticisms I outlined still feel kind of valid. Specifically, I found this to be a bland, forgettable tea, and prior to looking back over my notes, that’s what I remembered it as being. All I could specifically recall was that I thought it would be more robustly flavorful and that nothing about it really stood out to me.

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 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, baked bread, dark chocolate, and cinnamon that were underscored by subtle hints of straw. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of geranium, raisin, prune, and roasted almond. The first infusion brought out aromas of vanilla and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, baked bread, raisin, and straw that were backed by hints of geranium, horehound, roasted almond, prune, and butter. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of brown sugar, butter, cream, grass, oats, green olive, and orange zest. Notes of dark chocolate and vanilla came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately apparent notes of roasted almond, prune, and butter as well as hints of cinnamon and violet. I also picked up on impressions of minerals, cream, brown sugar, oats, grass, orange zest, caramelized banana, wood, and earth. There were even some very subtle hints of green olive, apricot, and malt that were just barely detectable in the aftertaste. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, butter, brown sugar, and baked bread that were complimented by hints of honey, oats, raisin, grass, wood, and roasted almond. There was also a slightly enhanced maltiness present at this point, though it was far from a dominant feature.

I’m still not sure about this tea. It contained a lot of elements that I would not expect to work all that well together, yet nothing about it stands out in my mind. I mostly just recall the liquor being a muddled rush of very muted, timid flavor components that peaked quickly and faded even quicker. At this point, all I can say is that this did not strike me as being all that good of a tea. They can’t all be winners. I’ll just leave it at that.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Olives, Orange Zest, Raisins, Straw, Vanilla, Violet, Wood

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.



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