Strange, I just now realized I already wrote a review of this tea! Oh well, I will list my newest one first, and keep the original below for comparison purposes (why not?).

Experience buying from Seven Cups http://steepster.com/places/2824-seven-cups-online-tucson-arizona

BEGIN NEW review
I bought a 25 gram sample of this tea in April of 2011 and I just finished the last of it today (6/21/2012). I drank this off-and-on through out the year using my standard times and temperatures for oolongs, steeping it in various ceramic teapots; stevia was always added.

I have been getting at least four good steepings out of it (starting at near boiling at 45" and adding 30" and hotter water for each additional steeping). Now having had a number of them, I consider this a good quality Tie Guan Yin in terms of leaf, aroma, color and flavor. I have grown to appreciate them (I didn’t at first), and now I am beginning to explore the Taiwan High Mountain Oolongs (THMO) with the hopes that I will be able to tell the difference between the two (right now I can’t, having had many TGYs, and only two sessions of a THMO). Finishing this one off makes room for more new ones!

Since I have now had many TGYs, I am giving this a rating. (Although, now that I look at the name, it doesn’t sound like a TGY. Oh, well).
END NEW review

BEGIN old review
Note: This is my first of this type of ‘green’ oolong.

Age of leaf: Harvested spring 2011. Brewed in late summer of that year.

Dry leaf: Small dark green semi-balled oolong. Looks and smells fresh.

Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot; leaves freely floating. Four
8-ounce cups of water used. Stevia added to compliment flavor.
…….1st: 195, 1’
……………..2nd: 200, 1’45” - a little less water (about 3.5 cups)
……………..3rd: 202, 2’15” - a little less water (about 3.5 cups)

Aroma: Very strong osmanthus scent, which became milder in each steeping.

Color of liquor: Light golden color to begin with, then became lighter with each steeping.

Wet leaf: has a fresh green look to it, and it smells quite a bit different than the taste or aroma of the tea liquor—more like a green tea overlaid with a strong fragrance. A few stems, one or two leaves that are brown on the edges, but mostly whole, large, fresh looking leaves. Interestingly enough, some leaves have slightly serrated edges, and some do not, and some have more of a wrinkled look than others.

Flavor: Starts off with a strong flowery flavor, then it becomes less flowery, and more like the taste of a Dan Cong Oolong I have had before in later steepings.

Value: $3 for 25-gram sample. (Currently sold out)

Overall: The first steeping was too flowery for my tastes (but my wife really liked the aroma), as it reminds me somewhat of jasmine tea (which I did not like the one time I tried it). The second steeping was lighter in color, and both the osmanthus taste and aroma were muted; I enjoyed the flavor more, as it was not as flowery. On the third steeping there was very little flavor and no aroma. I think I will go with shorter steeping times next time in the hopes of getting at least three good steepings out of it (start at 30 seconds). It was a fun oolong to steep.
END old review

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.


Midwest, USA

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