I got this as a sample a long time ago and never opened it. Now it is part of my continuing pu-erh adventures.

The leaves in the packet smell earthier than those of the other shengs I’ve had recently. A little roasted, slightly smoky even.

I used boiling water, rinsed and let the leaves sit for 15+ minutes before steeping in the gaiwan at 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

It’s pretty late in the day for me to be having caffeine, so I’m feeling a little internal pressure to finish up the day’s tasting. I’m also feeling as though by the steep note taking isn’t really necessary for the reasons I mentioned in the Bana Orchid Charm note, namely that I’m not noticing a lot of change from steep to steep. I had expected more in general, but that’s not what I’m tending to get. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?

This tea starts pale yellow and becomes golden in color with later steeps, similar to the others I’ve tasted recently. Its aroma and flavor are subtly different — rounder somehow, richer. Not so much linen/flax as sweet tobacco and cocoa. Duskier but still smooth.

Middle steeps made me think of pralines — sugary-nutty.

Another general note. I expected the shengs I have to taste more different from each other than they do, but so far they’ve all been very similar. I might like one a little better than another but really, it feels like splitting hairs.

Maybe my palate isn’t developed enough yet.

Flavors: Earth, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco


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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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