I am brewing this gongfu style. Putting these leaves into a warm gaiwan, the scent is of chocolate, earth, and a little but of must. The wet leaves smell like red wine, grapes, and prunes.

The tea tastes a bit woody, and like bread or oatmeal. It’s smooth and subtle. There are tiny notes of cocoa and mushroom. This first infusion is so light and I really enjoy it.

On the second infusion this tea still has a somewhat light flavor. It’s enjoyable in that sense. I have to say though this isn’t the type of flavor I’m used to in dianhong. This one has more of the muscatel and wood flavors I’m used to in Assamica varietal teas from India and Sri Lanka.

I infused it more strongly on the third infusion. I have to say at this point I’m feeling a bit let down, flavorwise. Even brewed more strongly, it’s awfully light, and while the flavor is smooth, it’s also rather two-dimensional. Still getting wood and muscatel flavor mostly. The tea is not very sweet, and only has a tiny bitterness in the end.

The fourth infusion yields must, wood, and squash flavors now. It’s still smooth and easy to drink, but not particularly intriguing.

As for the age-old inner battle of how to numerically rate this tea, and using those little smiley faces as a prompt, I will say, this tea was just above mediocre to me. The first infusion was the most enjoyable and beyond that it didn’t open up to reveal much more complexity or flavor like I’d hoped it would. And if I’m comparing this tea to every other dianhong I’ve had before, I feel even more secure in not rating it more highly, unfortunately.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cocoa, Muscatel, Mushrooms, Musty, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Hi there, fellow tea lovers.

My name’s Lion and I’m a Gongfu Cha practitioner, so I usually brew with a gaiwan for reviews unless there’s a more suitable brewing method, like using Japanese teawares for Japanese teas. I tend to stick to straight loose teas and scented teas in general, seldom dabbling in herbal and flavored teas. My favorite tea is Kenyan Silver Needle.

Aside from tea, I’m a generally creative person. I love to cook, write fiction, draw, decorate, garden, and do just about anything creative I can get my paws on.

Animals are really important to me. I’m a lion at heart, and I strive to better understand, respect, and appreciate other animals as best as I can. I advocate for better stewardship of wildlife and captive animals. We’ve still got a lot to learn.

For a long time I rated every tea I tried, but these days I don’t rate them unless they’re exceptional and deserving of a high rating. Here’s my rating breakdown for my reviews with ratings:

0 = Unpalatable, harsh
25 = Unenjoyable
50 = I’m indifferent
75 = Enjoyable, average
90+ = The best, would buy more
100 = Incredible, a favorite


Kansas City, USA

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