drank Ali Shan by Tao of Tea
158 tasting notes

I find that I can’t really begin to get the writing engine turned over in the morning until I’ve had a cup of black tea, with all of the brain-jolting caffeine it contains…but I’ve also found that my body is happier if I ease into my day with something gentler than that. Oolongs and whites have become my default, but oolongs particularly: they are rich enough that I often feel I’ve eaten breakfast.

Among the many kinds of oolong in all of their glorious variety, Ali Shan is one of the most rewardingly aromatic. I could sit (and have sat) for full minutes with my nose buried in the cup, inhaling the way they smell.

This one I got as a one ounce sample from Tao of Tea (somewhat expensive compared to their other teas at 7.25 an ounce! Thank goodness for their frequent buyer program). I stick pretty closely to a 1tsp/8oz. setup, and always use my 16oz cup; I got to have plenty of cups of this — it resteeps well even at that quantity of water. Obviously I am lazy — I never once wrote a tasting note.

I don’t think that this shatters the mold in terms of the type of tea that it is, but it is a very good Ali Shan. I prefer this tea to the Four Seasons I have (which is comparable as a green oolong, if not necessarily exactly the same). You have a light honey scent, with a delicious, welcoming depth of flavor (I tend to think of the smell of baked potato, but I’m not sure that’s completely accurate — still, something about it says ‘starch’ to me), and a pleasant floral high end.

I should really spend more time trying more Ali Shan.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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Ohhh, I dunno. I like tea but I’m kind of a tea newbie. At this point I can say with authority that I may never be anything else, no matter how many teas I try…there is always something new out there.

I write a lot.

I also play way too many video games.

Ratings! (Bout time, wot?) This is a new arrangement, so…subject to change!

1-10: Not potable. First-sip disasters.

11-30: Intensely unpleasant…won’t catch me finishing the cup.

31-50: I really don’t like it…but maybe somebody else out there would.

51-70: Drinkable, but probably not the first thing I’m going to reach for.

71-90: Pretty good tea, and stuff that there’s a good chance I’ll have on-hand. Will do in a pinch at the low end, all the way up to regular visitors to my infuser on the high end.

91-100: Teas I really do not want to be without.





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