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Sampler Sipdown September! I’m trying out the other Bi Lou Chun I was gifted from Derk, thanks so much Derk! I’m attempting to do this gong fu style, using my shiboridashi, though I’m only using half its capacity since I don’t feel like drinking two cuppas on each infusion, which comes out to about 70-75ml of liquid per infusion. Therefore I measured out my leaf keeping that amount of liquid in mind, and will still have enough of my sampler left to get to try this a few other ways, as well. Woot.

Gong fu / 2.2g /175F / 70ml / 30s|45s|60s|80s|90s|120s

On the first steep I got an aroma of green beans and anise, and the flavor was very in line with that; it was highly vegetal, with a strong savory bean taste containing notes of green beans and peapods, with a hint of anise spice on the finish. My second and third steeps brought out a much stronger anise aroma, and suddenly the tea smelled like a savory cooked meat, like a seasoned porked or bacon! Maybe my senses are just off because I’m on day three of a migraine attack, and that is entirely possible, but… I’m also tasting savory, peppery cooked bacon. And I have no complaints about that. Who doesn’t love bacon!? (Apologies to my Vegan BFF, but we all know you call yourselves Vegans because you are actually from a planet in the Vega star system, and therefore are aliens, not humans. Ya, we’re all onto you. I’m talking about actual humans here). On the fourth steep the aroma is more peppery, and the flavor turned more vegetal, a bit like watery greens, with just a bit of a floral sweetness, and then right at the finish a mixed pepper/anise spice note comes out on the back of the tongue. The fifth and sixth steeps were very sweet and floral, with subtle honey and gardenia notes and a bit minerally. It felt like the tea was weakening by that point so I didn’t push it any further.

Western / 1.9g / 175F / 370ml / 2m|2m30s

The western brew is very sweet and floral, with a slight watery vegetal/green bean note toward the finish, and a very subtle hint of anise at the finish. The strong spice note I was getting before isn’t present, and the sweet flowery taste that only came out at the very end of the session is present right from the start. This is still fine with the more delicate flavor, but since I really liked that spiced bacon flavor mid-session, this is one I prefer gong fu style… because again, bacon! Since my leaves hadn’t fully unfurled in one western infusion I did resteep this just to see if a second infusion brought out any differences. The leaves were fully extended by this point, and the cup had a much stronger and less delicate overall profile, but I still tasted a honeyed/floral top note with a vegetal/beany finish. Very smooth, no bitterness, and a mild drying/astringent feel to the tongue after the sip.

Flavors: Anise, Drying, Floral, Gardenias, Green Beans, Honey, Meat, Mineral, Peas, Pepper, Smooth, Spices, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 70 ML
derk

Ah, you’re welcome. Sounds like you enjoyed this one more than the other.

Mastress Alita

Used up my remainder on a cold steep which finished brewing today and I’m drinking in a refreshing cool glass with my dinner. Makes a fine iced tea as well; I’d say that iced it has a smooth watery vegetal taste, but I’m also getting a bit of the beany/bacon flavor in the finish.

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derk

Ah, you’re welcome. Sounds like you enjoyed this one more than the other.

Mastress Alita

Used up my remainder on a cold steep which finished brewing today and I’m drinking in a refreshing cool glass with my dinner. Makes a fine iced tea as well; I’d say that iced it has a smooth watery vegetal taste, but I’m also getting a bit of the beany/bacon flavor in the finish.

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Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, RuPaul’s Drag Race, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little apartment!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Grapefruit (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

My Tea Obsession of the Moment: Hibiscus ciders… deal with it.

My Monthly Tea Theme: Holiday Tea-son! This month I’ll be sampling holiday blends and advent calendar teas from my collection!

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating.

New Teas Tried for 2018: 266
Sipdown Count for 2018: 232

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! Check back in the future for tea trades (USA only!)

Location

Idaho, United States

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