First attempt with this one. I’m using my new glass “gung-fu” teapot from DavidsTea! The only downside I’ve noticed is that it took about 8 seconds to pour the tea out, so my attempt at a 15-second infusion turned into more like 25 seconds. Hopefully that won’t be a problem. I used 3g of leaf for the pot (however many ounces it is – I will find this out later.)

First infusion (~208F/~25s):
Omg omg. I took a sip of the still super-hot tea and I think it tastes sweet and fabulous! Thrilling! Have to wait until it cools to really talk about it though. I kind of burnt my tongue…

Argh, obligatory Mother’s Day phone conversation means my tea is extra-cool now. Well, I can say that it’s sweet and tasty with a toasty aroma and flavour. A bit like a genmaicha, strangely??

Second infusion (~205F/~25s):
This one’s even sweeter :) But also completely cold. Sigh. I do have a few infusions to get to yet. Thankfully however, I didn’t screw this one up like I did the other oolong from Verdant. There’s a lingering aftertaste of… juiciness? I’m not sure. It’s good.

Third infusion (~208F/45s):
Just a bit of a toasty aroma. Again, sweet and delicious. I’m not catching any flavour nuances to be honest, but I’m definitely enjoying this cup/this tea. Although I’ve gotta admit that after cheese panel, one can get rather tired of analyzing things. (I must say, there’s a lovely aftertaste here though!)

Fourth infusion (~205F/53s):
This is too weak. I thought that as I poured it out and it was considerably lighter in colour. I’m pretty sure a longer infusion for a fifth steep would revive it though. Might try.

Overall, this is good, but I’m just not catching subtleties in the infusions. Also, I’m pretty sure that for the duration of this cheese panel (mid-late June), my palate just isn’t going to be up to figuring out differences due to palate (and mental) fatigue! So I don’t think I’ll properly be reviewing any straight teas for a while, although that doesn’t mean I’ll be drinking them.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Scott B

I got this as a free sample from Verdant. I’ve not tried many oolongs, but I’ve tried a couple quality Big Red Robes and for whatever reason they just don’t work for me.

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Scott B

I got this as a free sample from Verdant. I’ve not tried many oolongs, but I’ve tried a couple quality Big Red Robes and for whatever reason they just don’t work for me.

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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