drank Fujian Ali Shan by Adagio
1940 tasting notes

Pretty sure I tried this once before and accidentally logged it under Formosa Ali Shan. But maybe not. It’s possible I had two different Ali Shans from Adagio. I went through a period where I tried a bunch of their samplers, including two or three oolong ones.

In any case, I can’t find any evidence that this one ever existed on the internet — except that I’m holding the tiny tin in my hand.

The only samples I have left now are oolongs, with the exception of one black tea. I thought I’d give this one a try today in the gaiwan.

It’s a green looking and smelling, a sort of buttery, floral smell in the tin. The tea is rolled into irregularly shaped balls with stems visible. It looks a lot like the picture of the Formosa Ali Shan, here: https://steepster.com/teas/adagio-teas/11434-formosa-ali-shan

I rinsed and took it through a number of steeps starting at 15 seconds.

The first steep smelled lovely — milky/buttery, lilac — captured subtly in the flavor. The flavor wasn’t a deep one, but was refreshing. The tea was pale yellow.

Second steep, 20 seconds. Darker color (medium yellow) more floral, less butter in the aroma. Flavor was similar to first steep but slightly more robust.

Third steep, 25 seconds. Even darker (golden yellow). Still heavily floral in the aroma. By now the leaves had fully unfurled and doubled the volume of leaf in the gaiwan. I started to suspect that I had in fact written a note about this one before but put it in the wrong place because my experience of all three steeps so far was quite similar to what I wrote under the Formosa Ali Shan. The flavor didn’t change in any discernible way from steep to steep.

Fourth steep, 30 seconds. The color held steady at a golden yellow, as did the aroma. Before this steep, I noticed that the cup had a sugary, pastry-like smell to it, which was very appealing.

It’s a pleasant green oolong but doesn’t evolve a lot from steep to steep, which is another quality that makes me think I tasted this once before and wrote a note under a different name. Then, I called the tea I was drinking a Johnny One Note — this is pretty much that.

I considered taking it through more steeps just to see when it reached exhaustion, but by the fourth it was getting a bit of a bitter note in the finish and didn’t have that swell of flavor in the sip. I will probably drink the rest of this Western style since it doesn’t seem to pay to go through multiple steeps.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Milk

195 °F / 90 °C

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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