At the other end of the oolong spectrum likes this near-black Wild Arbor Oriental Beauty from Tea Setter. The scent is very strong—almost fermented—and definitely earns the label wild. I brewed these potent black matte leaves at a lower temperature and for a shorter steep because I worried that the liquor might be overwhelming.

The brew ended up apricot-colored and tastes like a somewhat lighter version of some of the high-quality Taiwan blacks I’ve tried. I have to say that I would never have guessed that this was oolong, since it clashes with all of my previous oolong experiences.

However, I happen to like high-quality black teas, which this seems to me. Everyone else is talking about fruit. Hmmm… to me, this has a dark and smoky facet reminiscent of Russian Caravan (or a dilute brew of Lapsang Souchong…). I’ll definitely be exploring this tea further. In my second infusion, later today, I’ll use half the water and increase the temperature and steep time and see what transpires.

Flavors: Smoke

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

No peach? No chestnuts?


I don’t know, boychik, maybe I underleafed? If I were to call this “fruity”, it would have to be stewed fruit. I did enjoy the flavor, and will try it again at some point.

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No peach? No chestnuts?


I don’t know, boychik, maybe I underleafed? If I were to call this “fruity”, it would have to be stewed fruit. I did enjoy the flavor, and will try it again at some point.

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I have fallen off the “tea log boat”, as I am now in New Zealand and was really flailing about for a while, having depleted all of my Chinese and Japanese green tea supply! Fortunately, my first order of 2015 has now arrived! I should begin writing very soon about tea at my new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves. Please stop by and contribute your ideas—all viewpoints are welcome!

A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

The scent of tea can be just as appealing as—sometimes more than—its taste! Tea also offers boundless visual beauty in its various forms and states of preparation.

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2400+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):


Finally, please note that after a great deal of debate with myself, I have decided to use the cupboard here at Steepster as a “museum” of sorts—to commemorate all of the various teas which I have purchased and truly enjoyed since December 2013.

I do not currently possess all of the teas listed in this cupboard, but am using the function as a way of recording how many times I drank every tea which I did own at some point and wish not to forget. Teas found both in my “cupboard” and on my “wishlist” are those which I did own and intend to restock. Teas best forgotten have been removed from the cupboard once depleted (in some cases tossed…).

I have also decided (beginning in 2015) to use the tasting note function to maintain a chronological record of the teas I’ve consumed since December 15, 2013. Most new reviews will now be posted directly at my blog, sherapop’s tea leaves.


Curio Bay, South Island, New Zealand



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