drank Tie Guan Yin 1993 by Nannuoshan
894 tasting notes

The dry leaf is dark green, verging on black, and twisty, but not rolled into balls. It smells woody and earthy, with hints of orchid that contrast in a very interesting way.

Steeped, the leaf smells intensely floral and woody. The tea soup is a pale amber colour and very clear. It smells very faintly of honey and wood.

On the first steep, the wood note is dominant, with honey and orchid in the background. I steeped 1g in 50ml of 90C water for 30 seconds, as per the steeping directions, but the flavour seems a bit light. I think this might have benefited from a quick rinse and a bit of a rest, to let the leaves open up a bit more, or just a slightly longer first steep.

The second steep is amazing. Everything about this steep is stronger and deeper, with well balanced notes of wood, roast and honey forefront, backed up by a lovely orchid. The finish is long, with a honeyed, tangy vegetal note that develops long after the sip. The texture is creamy and smooth.

The third steep intrigues me. The steeped leaf has taken on an almost acrid, charred wood note that I find unappealing. But the flavour of the tea is incredible. There is more roastiness and less honey than on the second steep, but toward the end of the sip there is a melted butter and brown sugar taste that contributes to the rich, creamy impression from the mouth feel.

The fourth steep once again seems lighter on flavour than it should be. While the flavours of the third steep are present, they are mild and a bit muddled.

For the fifth steep, I didn’t bother timing precisely and just let the tea sit until it seemed like it was ready. The butter, brown sugar and orchid are back to being more prominent, but at this point the leaves are staring to lose their flavour.

This is an amazing tea that shows its age through the fine and complex flavour. While three of my five steeps were not all that impressive, I was quite blown away by the second and third, and I think it is well worth drinking for those steeps alone (and I think with some tweaking of steeping technique and parameters, at least three incredible steeps could be had.)

I drank this and made my note without looking at anyone else’s impressions, and it’s so interesting to see the variety of different experiences people had with this tea. There’s a great deal of diversity in the flavours that people picked out.

While this may not be an every day kind of tea, it is one that is absolutely worth trying.

30s, 30s, 45s, 45s, 1min+

Sample provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Creamy, Earth, Honey, Orchid, Roasted, Smooth, Tangy, Vegetal, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML
Liquid Proust

The direction really say 30s? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an oolong with less than a 3 minute advisory.

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Liquid Proust

The direction really say 30s? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an oolong with less than a 3 minute advisory.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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