Old Ways Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

drank Qi Lan (2016) by Old Ways Tea
542 tasting notes

Dark, sweet aroma with orchid but no sweetness in taste. Instead the taste is rather thin and herbaceous, dirt-mineral with orchid and roasted almond. Still some lingering char/roast notes that fade away a few infusions in. Undercurrent of alkaline bitterness.
An indistinguishable fruity aftertaste presents early, something like strawberry-apricot-orange-pineapple mixed with cream. That transitions to a clearly defined sweet white peach. The liquor develops a thick viscosity when the tastes start fading into grass and orange zest.

This session left me wanting something different. The dry leaf shows that this is low oxidized and medium roasted which really isn’t my favorite presentation for Wuyi oolong. This Qilan had aftertaste in spades but seemed unbalanced overall. I’ll have to revisit this tea soon, if only to hasten its departure from my cupboard :P

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Char, Cream, Dirt, Grass, Herbaceous, Herbs, Mineral, Orange, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pineapple, Roasted, Strawberry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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95

This was one of my sipdowns from July. I think I’ve only got three or four more teas from that month to post once I get this review up for the world to see. To this point, this is my favorite of the 2018 Old Ways Tea black teas I have tried. It was a very sweet, fruity black tea, and even though such teas are not often my favorites, I found this one to be exceptional.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, cream, butter, strawberry, blueberry, and tangerine. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted almond, nectarine, and blackberry emerged. The first infusion brought out aromas of pear, plum, roasted peanut, and malt. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted almond, malt, strawberry, nectarine, plum, roasted peanut, cream, and tangerine that were balanced by hints of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, butter, peach, pear, and guava. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, wood, straw, vanilla, and guava as well as a subtler scent of sweet potato. Slightly stronger and more immediate notes of blueberry, butter, guava, black cherry, pear, and peach appeared as did impressions of roasted peanut and baked bread. I detected new notes of minerals, orange zest, sweet potato, wood, and straw that were accompanied by hints of pineapple and vanilla. There was also an herbal, slightly cooling quality on each swallow that I could never manage to place. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, wood, malt, baked bread, and roasted almond notes that were balanced by peach, plum, pear, strawberry, orange zest, blackberry, tangerine, and black cherry hints.

This was an amazingly aromatic and flavorful Wuyi black tea with a ton to offer both casual and experienced drinkers alike. Despite its fruity sweetness, the tea liquor never came off as syrupy in the mouth, instead maintaining a strong, firm texture throughout my drinking session. There was also just enough balance provided by the tea’s other characteristics to keep the fruit aromas and flavors from being overwhelming and throwing everything out of whack. Fans of Wuyi black teas would undoubtedly enjoy this offering, but I think black tea fans who are used to sweeter teas and looking for a good entry into the world of Wuyi black tea would also be well served to check out this tea or one like it.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Guava, Herbaceous, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Stonefruits, Straw, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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88

Let’s post a more positive review, shall we? This was one of my sipdowns from July. I had a couple sample pouches of this tea, both of which I received free with two different orders from Old Ways Tea. I finished one during the second half of the month and ended up putting the other in storage. I’ll probably drink it sometime next year to see how much greater aging will affect it. Though this tea was labeled as a Da Hong Pao, it was actually a Rou Gui, albeit a Rou Gui that was given a roast intended to mimic the qualities of some of the more floral Da Hong Pao blends. This treatment worked quite well for this tea, as I would never have been able to tell that it was 100% Rou Gui without reading the product description in advance.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, rock sugar, pine, smoke, char, ginger, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut that were accompanied by stronger cinnamon, char, and smoke scents. The first infusion brought out aromas of black cherry, strawberry, and blackberry alongside a more amplified ginger scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, pine, ginger, orchid, smoke, char, rock sugar, roasted peanut, blackberry, and black cherry that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, black raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and red apple. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of blueberry, red apple, Asian pear, and black raspberry that were accompanied by subtle grass and cannabis scents. Notes of tobacco, minerals, cannabis, grass, nutmeg, rose, butter, baked bread, and cream appeared in the mouth alongside hints of cocoa, orange zest, roasted walnut, and Asian pear. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, pine, char, roasted peanut, grass, and cream notes that were underscored by hints of butter, smoke, roasted almond, roasted walnut, baked bread, tobacco, black cherry, cannabis, cocoa, and rock sugar.

This was both a very interesting and satisfying Wuyi oolong. I’m curious to see whether or not additional aging will bring out any new aromas and flavors or soften some of the tea’s rougher edges. Regardless of how it holds up down the road, this was a very good tea at the time I tried it. It was clearly coming into its own, perhaps even peaking. Fans of Da Hong Pao and some of the heavier roasted Wuyi oolongs would probably get a lot out of it.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Ginger, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Strawberry, Sugar, Tobacco, Walnut

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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87

This review is one of many that I have been sitting on for several months. I know I finished what I had of this tea at some point during the first half of August. It seems crazy to me that I’m this far behind. Heck, I have one review from November 2018 that I still need to post, a few random things from July and September, and a whole chunk of reviews from August and October, not to mention an incrementally growing number of unpublished reviews for the current month. I have no clue if/when I will get everything posted here. At this rate, it will be sometime in either December or January even with my tea consumption greatly decreasing. Anyway, I recall this being a tea I was a little reticent about trying, as I loved the 2017 version of this tea and was concerned about this tea being described as less grassy. Ultimately, I found it to be less grassy and more fruity and floral, but I think being fruity and floral instead of overtly grassy worked for it. Now that I think about it, though, I don’t recall the 2017 tea being all that grassy. I’m pretty sure I also found it to be more fruity and floral, so I guess I was making much ado about nothing.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, malt, straw, grass, honey, and cream. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted peanut and butter made themselves known alongside a subtle sweet potato scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of vanilla, roasted almond, and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of baked bread, malt, grass, straw, cream, honey, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of butter, vanilla, violet, and pear. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals, cocoa, candied orange, rose, pear, kumquat, red apple, and brown sugar. Sweet potato notes appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident impressions of vanilla, butter, and pear. The violet presence was also slightly amplified. Notes of cocoa, brown sugar, red apple, minerals, rose, candied orange, plum, peach, and kumquat appeared, and I even picked up a slight menthol presence in the aftertaste. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, candied orange, cream, butter, honey, malt, and sweet potato notes that were underscored by pleasant grass, kumquat, brown sugar, cocoa, rose, and violet hints.

Compared to the 2017 offering, this was a much sweeter tea, though it also displayed the savory characteristics of that tea. Having tried both, I can say that the 2017 tea struck me as being more balanced, more substantial, and more textured, while this one was lighter, sweeter, quirkier, and livelier. I think I had more fun drinking this tea than its older counterpart. Honestly, I found both teas to be very enjoyable. The 2017 offering felt more refined and a little more complete to me, but this tea was an absolute blast to drink and pick apart.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Grass, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Red Apple, Rose, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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84

God, it’s been forever! It seems that every time I try to get myself into some sort of routine when it comes to posting tea reviews, something always happens that causes me to fall even further behind. In this case, it has been a combination of an oppressive work schedule, health issues, and a general sour mood that has left me not exactly feeling like writing in my extremely limited spare time. I’m going to start playing catch-up again with this review, or so I hope. This was my first sipdown of the month and a tea I had been meaning to get to long before I actually managed to motivate myself to try it. My limited experience with winter Shui Xian and previous positive experiences with various Shui Xian offered by Old Ways Tea told me that this would be a quality offering, and it was. It ended up being neither my favorite winter Shui Xian nor one of my favorite offerings from Old Ways Tea, but it was still a very nice tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, cinnamon, raisin, roasted almond, honey, blackberry, charcoal, and pine. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted peanut, smoke, earth, tar, and cannabis. The first infusion brought out a little rock sugar and orange zest on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of mushroom, cream, baked bread, roasted almond, roasted peanut, earth, tar, charcoal, and pine that were chased by hints of honey, cinnamon, blackberry, butter, smoke, and grass. The following infusions coaxed out aromas of rock sugar, malt, roasted walnut, grass, mushroom, cranberry, and pear alongside subtler scents of vanilla and red apple. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of blackberry, butter, cinnamon, smoke, and grass appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, black cherry, roasted walnut, orange zest, pear, red apple, pomegranate, cranberry, malt, and caramel notes. I also picked up some belatedly emerging cannabis hints and subtle notes of raisin, rock sugar, and vanilla. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized mineral, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted walnut, baked bread, caramel, butter, grass, blackberry, charcoal, and cinnamon notes that were underscored by hints of rock sugar, earth, mushroom, tar, smoke, vanilla, orange zest, black cherry, and pear.

This was a very complex and interesting tea. It was a little surprising to me that the characteristics of the roast (charcoal, pine, tar, smoke, etc.) came out so prominently and so strongly. Winter Shui Xian is generally not as heavily roasted as other Wuyi Shui Xian, and either this one was more heavily roasted than the average winter Shui Xian, or its roast somehow managed to retain a good deal of its strength and liveliness in storage. I have no clue which is the case. Anyway, this was a very good and very enjoyable Shui Xian, though it was a bit harsher and heavier than I have come to expect winter Shui Xian to be. I’m willing to bet that a few more months in storage would have mellowed it out a bit more.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Cannabis, Caramel, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Roasted, Smoke, Sugar, Tar, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
tea-sipper

Hope you feel better.

eastkyteaguy

Thanks. I’m working on it.

mrmopar

Indeed, prayers your way.

eastkyteaguy

Thanks. The support is appreciated.

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85

(from notes August 18, 2019)

This morning, I treated myself to a new tea-to-me vendor, Old Ways Tea.
I made the “mistake” of brewing this for 60s at 200 deg F. The resulting tea was strong. It had some amazingly darker robust flavors — Moss, earth, and slightly smokey flavor. The mouthfeel was amazingly smooth and silky with a clean finish. It was like how silk and velvet lay on your skin.

It was good but others reviews mention other flavors that I wanted to taste. (Also, I can’t compare this to any previous years, as some reviewers seem to indicate that previous years were better…)

I backed off the brew time because I wasn’t getting a lot of high notes so I brewed at 45 seconds. Flavors dropped down to tobacco, chocolate with an amazing cooling effect like ginger. The cha Qi fills the mouth and throat then the head. The mouthfeel is exactly the same.

Subsequent steepings had creamy textures and flavor of orange peel.

It’s an AMAZINGLY COMPLEX tea. Probably the best of example of a Wu Yi Black Tea. The way you brew it is going to dictate the flavor profile — none of which are bad but only based on your preference. This tea is a fine Scotch. The mouthfeel of silk and velvet is worth the price of admission.

This is a Tea you want to sit back and enjoy by itself. I’ll be ordering more.

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61

(backlog from 8/23/19)

By all rights, I should really love this tea. It hits all the right checkboxes. I really WANT to like this tea!

Amazing texture and body. This tea coats your tongue like honey syrup and doesn’t let go.
A nose of brown sugar, bread, honey, and citrus

Good set of flavors — honey, lemon zest, hints of spices (cinnamon), baked bread; Things I expect out of a WuYi Black Tea and that I enjoy

Balanced flavor profile — starts off slightly mineral/bitter that evens out to a thick honey.

But…I don’t love it It’s okay. It’s a good tea that I will not turn down if offered. I will gladly drink it for just the texture alone. But the combination of all of it, isn’t doing it for me. Others who have reviewed the previous’ years harvests have raved about the tea, including 2 people who seem to have the same tastes as me. So I don’t know if it’s just THIS year’s harvest or if it is just not for me.

It’s hard to compare harvest years as something might have gone wrong. If they still have the 2016/2017 harvest, I will pick up a sample to compare.

Brewing info:
- tea; 5.26g
- water: 150ml
- times: 20s, 30, 45, 60, 90

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Honey, Lemon Zest

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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80

This was another of my sipdowns from last week. I remember finishing what I had of this tea the day after I finished the sample pouch of Old Ways Tea’s 2017 Huang Guan Yin-Electric Roast. Their Premium Old Tree Black Teas are usually great offerings. I recall the 2016 offering being fantastic and the 2017 offering being very good, but not quite as good as the 2016. This tea marked yet another step down in terms of perceived quality. It was still a more or less very good offering, but it did not have the depth that made the other two teas so enjoyable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, pine, roasted almond, cinnamon, baked bread, straw, honey, and nutmeg. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut and green wood. The first infusion brought out a subtle smoky scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, baked bread, roasted peanut, roasted almond, and butter that were chased by hints of green wood, pine, nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey. The following infusions gradually brought out aromas of minerals, orange zest, leather, butter, lemon zest, and grass as well as stronger smoke aromas. Notes of smoke and straw came out in the mouth with a slightly amplified cinnamon presence as well as notes of minerals, leather, lemon zest, orange zest, grass, and cream. I also detected hints of brown sugar, raisin, red apple, and pear. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, green wood, orange zest, butter, roasted peanut, and lemon zest that were underscored by fleeting hints of grass, straw, roasted almond, pine, leather, cream, and smoke.

This tea shared many characteristics with its counterparts from the previous two years, but in my opinion, it lacked some of the quirks that made those teas so appealing. It also lacked the smooth, cooling finish that was especially enjoyable and pronounced in the 2016 tea. Overall, it did not come off as being as deep or as captivating as the previous offerings. Still, it was a mostly very enjoyable black tea and just suffered in comparison to those older teas. I don’t regret trying it at all, though I would by lying if I were to state that I am not hoping that Old Ways Tea’s 2019 Old Tree Black Tea will represent something of a step back up in terms of quality.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Baked Bread, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butter, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Cream, Grass, Grass, Green Wood, Green Wood, Honey, Honey, Leather, Leather, Lemon Zest, Lemon Zest, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peanut, Pear, Pear, Pine, Pine, Raisins, Raisins, Red Apple, Red Apple, Smoke, Smoke, Straw, Straw

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
derk

The 2016 was stellar. Wow.

Jade

This reminds me…I have to post my own review. I never tasted the previous versions so I can’t compare, but I did enjoy this particular tea.

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84

Okay, I finally seem to have more regular access to Steepster. For the better part of two weeks, I was either so busy that I had no time to contribute anything or could not log into my account due to constant 503 errors. Hopefully, things will change from this point forward. A lot has gone on since I posted my last set of reviews. Most significantly, I interviewed for a job at the local community college. I hadn’t been consistently looking for a new job for the better part of a year, and the few applications I submitted in that time did not net me any interviews. As a matter of fact, I had not been to a job interview since September 2018 prior to this last one. Unlike that earlier interview, I didn’t walk away from this last interview with a terrible feeling, so I guess that’s a good sign. At this point, I’m not sure I expect to be offered this job, though I hope I do receive the offer. Anyway, I did not feel like digging through notes from the summer, so I decided to take the opportunity to review a tea I polished off more recently. I only had a sample pouch of this tea to work with, and I finished it in a single day back around the start of last week. I was not expecting much out of it due to my strong preference for charcoal roasted Wuyi oolongs, but honestly, this was a very nice tea. It didn’t rival Old Ways Tea’s regular 2017 Huang Guan Yin, but for what it was, it was very good.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, roasted almond, nutmeg, cream, strawberry, and raspberry. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of butter, orange zest, blackberry, and blueberry. The first infusion saw the strawberry aroma increase in strength while new aromas of vanilla and red grape appeared alongside subtle smoky scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, roasted almond, orange zest, butter, blueberry, and blackberry that were backed by hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, grass, smoke, black cherry, and raspberry. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of roasted peanut, grass, roasted grain, roasted beechnut, malt, and peach as well as subtler scents of grape leaf and green olive. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of grass, smoke, black cherry, and raspberry appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, roasted grain, roasted peanut, roasted beechnut, peach, and plum. Impressions of red grape and vanilla also emerged, and some hints of grape leaf, green olive, strawberry, and malt could also be detected. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized mineral, cream, butter, grass, roasted peanut, and roasted grain notes that were accompanied by an amplified malt presence and hints of green olive, smoke, grape leaf, roasted almond, roasted beechnut, vanilla, and orange zest.

Electric roasts generally do not allow the the full range of a tea’s quirks and complexities to shine, but this one was not overpowering and seemed to have been very skillfully applied, so that was not the case here. In truth, I’m used to cheap, rough electric roasted oolongs that kind of smell and taste like ashes or burnt toast, so my expectations were low going into the drinking session detailed in the previous paragraph. I was most certainly not expecting a very delicate, complex, playful tea with tons of aroma and flavor components. Still, this tea did start to fade sooner than I hoped it would, and having tried Old Ways Tea’s charcoal roasted 2017 Huang Guan Yin several months prior to this tea, I could tell that this was a lower quality offering. It just did not quite have the depth or balance of that tea. All in all, I still consider this a very good offering. If you’re the sort of person who thinks of electric roasted Wuyi oolongs as low quality teas with an overpowering ashy or smoky presence, this tea would certainly surprise you.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Blackberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Blueberry, Butter, Butter, Cherry, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Cream, Grain, Grain, Grapes, Grapes, Grass, Grass, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutmeg, Nutty, Nutty, Olives, Olives, Orange Zest, Orange Zest, Peach, Peach, Peanut, Peanut, Plums, Plums, Raspberry, Raspberry, Roasted, Roasted, Smoke, Smoke, Strawberry, Strawberry, Vanilla, Vanilla, Vegetal, Vegetal

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
Martin Bednář

I wish you good luck with a job :)

eastkyteaguy

Martin, thank you. I need all the luck I can get on the job front.

mrmopar

Good luck on the job front!

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92

I had to dig through my review notebook for this one. I knew I had a few reviews from July that I still needed to post, and this was one of them. I think I finished what I had of this tea around the end of the month, but I could be wrong as it’s been a while. I do know that I found this tea to be on par with Old Ways Tea’s 2016 Huang Guan Yin, perhaps just a little bit better.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry that were accompanied by subtle scents of cinnamon and plum. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, rose, and roasted grain as well as a subtle scent of smoke. The first infusion introduced a slight earthiness to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, roasted peanut, and roasted grain that were balanced by hints of cinnamon, mushroom, smoke, earth, roasted almond, and rose. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of dark wood, grass, charcoal, and roasted beechnut as well as subtler scents of roasted hazelnut, malt, and strawberry. Notes of black cherry, minerals, grass, charcoal, dark wood, plum, roasted beechnut, roasted hazelnut, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth along with slightly stronger rose and roasted almond notes and hints of green olive, malt, tar, and strawberry. As the tea faded, the liquor took on stronger malty and earthy characteristics while also emphasizing notes of minerals, cream, roasted peanut, grass, and roasted grain that were balanced by hints of green olive, roasted hazelnut, roasted almond, blueberry, and brown sugar.

This was such an interesting and complex tea. Compared to the 2016 offering, this tea struck me as being both fruitier and nuttier. It also offered some unexpected twists and turns over the course of my gongfu session. It was very satisfying and struck me as a truly excellent offering, but I could also see it not being for everyone.

Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Wood, Earth, Grain, Grass, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nutty, Olives, Peanut, Plums, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Strawberry

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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99

Tasting note NUMBER 400

Pure deliciousness! Thank you derk! I still have some, though just a little.

2.5 grams and boiling water. I am so hyped about this tea. Gaiwan, 85 ml.

I made several 30 seconds steeps. It was so great. Aroma was clearly autumn leaf pile, no florality, no funky notes, no… bold and strong aromas.
Taste: I could not explain it well I suppose. It is light, but full of taste. Refreshing, but bold. Woody, but as well mineral. Fruity, but not sweet or juicy. Hay, but not boring.

Caffeine boosting, but as well the mood boosting. Oh well.

Minute steeping was great too. Even two minutes – and nothing bad. I need to find another timing for this tea!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fruity, Hay, Mineral, Stonefruits, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 85 ML
gmathis

400 goes fast, doesn’t it?

Martin Bednář

Way too fast in my opinion. Maybe I am spending here too much time. But it makes me so happy to share with others. That’s bit weird, because – I am in real life rather introvert. But – my goal is to improve and keep my English.

gmathis

I think the overwhelming majority of Steepsters fit the introverted description—we’re a good fit for one another!

derk

Glad you liked it, Martin.

Martin Bednář

It’s amazing how different can be one plant. Sometimes it brings me nostalgic mood, sometimes hype, sometimes just good mood. So, indeed I liked it derk.

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99

No rating, so far.

Grandpa, 2 grams, almost boiling water.

Is it too hot? Not enough leaves? Answer for both is nope. It was awesome tea! So smooth. And taste? Well hard to describe actually, it reminded me cream, but with wood and wet forest. Bit of minerality was there too. Astringency? Yep, but just a little bit.

Autumn tea. At least for me.

Derk; I have waited for good weather for this tea. And as it is typical autumn; wet, cloudy, rainy, unpleasant weather, I think it was just perfect. THANK you a lot for this experience!

ashmanra

I have had one or two teas from this comoany and remember they were impressive. Glad you enjoyed your tea today!

derk

You’re welcome, Martin. It is very good prepared in a gaiwan if you haven’t already.

Now I am envious because the weather became hot here again ~30C.

Martin Bednář

I have to try it in gaiwan as well, I have something left. I bet it will be awesome then. Today morning was temperature just 1°C. Which is kind of cold. I took my winter jacket and in the afternoon it was completely useless, but rainproof. I hate this weather when you do not know what to wear.

derk

I would love more 1C weather so I can drink all these comforting rock oolong and puerh teas in my closet! It will be cooling down a little over the next few days but we are under a high wildfire warning due to a combination of seasonal high winds and low relative humidity. To anticipate the possibility of wind-felled power lines sparking fires, the electric company might be cutting power to a very large region of northern California, effecting hundreds of thousands of people. According to the map, my house is one street outside the power outage zone, so I’m unsure if we’ll be without electricity for the next few days. My employer 2km up the road is in the zone but we have generators and due to the nature of our business, will be open to serve the community’s needs.

Mastress Alita

Todd’s new house was in the power outage zone. It was restored yesterday though.

derk

He moved, too? I hope he wasn’t effected too severely by the power outage. Only a small portion of my town ended up having the power cut but I’d say half my coworkers were effected.

derk

I wonder if Old Ways Tea was in the zone since they’re located I think in San Jose or Santa Clara.

Martin Bednář

I hope those temperatures would not make big troubles for anybody. Extremes are always bad.

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Gongfu Sipdown (706)!

A mid afternoon session – really pleasant, decidedly somewhere in the middle (experience/taste wise) of all the other Old Ways Teas I’ve tried thus far. I did have this same tea type, I believe, not too long ago from Lazy Cat though – and if my memory isn’t totally failing me I liked the one from Lazy Cat a bit more than this one.

I don’t remember the steep count – but, like the Lazy Cat one, I brewed this out…

Insta Thoughts:

Dry leaf aroma is intense – smells of heavy roast accented w/ sharp grass notes!! Steeps up bold & takes a beat to soften/mellow out but then has a complex profile of grilled/roasted nuts, sweeter peanut brittle, full bodied roast, minerality, greener undertones and hints of orchid, slight cinnamon notes in the finish and… herbaceous and slightly creamy dill!?!?

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2aGJfZAoas/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rmZPJA3Py0

(OBSESSED with this band – been listening to them nonstop all week…)

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82

(From my backlog)
Tasted during the Labor Day holiday in America.

I’m very happy with the teas from Old Ways Tea that I’ve picked up. This is a 2008 Aged Da Hong Pao that’s been re-roasted a few times.

There’s deep roasted flavors of tobacco, burnt wood, and smoke; lighter flavors of chocolate and coffee with milk; then it rounds out with High notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. Early infusions were interesting — tobacco followed by the cooling effect of mint (without any mint)

It’s very well balanced and robust. The roasted flavors don’t overwhelm the palate. It’s super smooth to drink with a surprisingly light viscosity and clean finish.

The cold brew of this tea is just as tasty.

Brewing information:
Tea amount: 5 grams for HOT
Style: Gongfu
Water: 150ml
Temp: 200 F
Brewing times: 20,30,30, 45, 60

Cold Brew: 3 grams
Water: 300 ml of water

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Coffee, Cream, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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71

I’m catching up on my tea reviews.

I like trying different teas that might not be in my preferred flavor profile.. Trying different things is an exercise in growth. It lets you understand WHY you like something, appreciation for those differences, as well as teaching that differences aren’t bad. Just like life.

This tea is not in my preferred flavor profile (i.e. I do not enjoy very strong smokey/roasted flavors such as lapsong souchong), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a good look into how you can really make something balance out without overwhelming the palette with a single flavor …..I’m looking at you, micro-breweries, that make IPAs too damn hoppy!

Flavors: Smoke/Roast/Charcoal followed by a mild sweetness of cooked stone fruit (apricot? peach?). The smokey/roasted/charcoal notes is ALMOST overpowering but is countered by the sweet of of the fruit. It’s a viscous liquid that coats the tongue with little to no astringency. It has a very clean finish.

For anyone who enjoys the smokey roasted flavors, this is a really good tea to try. This tea brings those out without overwhelming the drinker, giving them a good look at how these flavors can be balanced out.

Brewing info:
Tea: 5.02 grams
Water: 150 ml
Temp: 200-201 F
Brewing time: 20-20-30-45
Vessel: Porcelain Gaiwan

Flavors: Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruits

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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72

Upon opening the pack, I tried to discern aromas from the dry leaf. There was a faint hint of floral (maybe rose) and a dry, roasted scent. A warmed gaiwan brought out these smells a bit better.

If I had only drank the first infusion, I would have passed on this tea. It has a roasted flavor - almost burnt wood mixed with sweet grass -- with a decent body, and a “roughness” around the tongue that I wasn’t sure that I liked. There are very “smooth” teas to drink and this wasn’t one of them. However, it has a decent body, a mild viscosity, and very little astringency that made up for the roughness. Perhaps the 20s infusion was too long? Perhaps it needed a wash? Or perhaps it needed a lower temp?

However, I was committed to seeing this tea out.

Subsequent infusions changed my mind about this tea. Infusions #2+ smoothed out the roughness of the initial infusion. The milder flavors of sweet grass / florals come out to play alongside the roast. While still not as smooth to drink as some other teas, the ‘roughness’ evens out and counterbalances the sweet grass/florals. The tea broth remains consistent in color, body, flavor, and viscoscity, and I was able to get a fair number of infusions out of it.

When I drink this, it has an extremely mild cha qi. I felt the warmth going down my throat and expanding in my chest, and finally in my head. It’s short-lived but there.

Are there better teas out there? Yes.
But for the price @ $0.19 USD / gram, it’s a helluva bargain.
If you need a tea that’s decent, but you don’t really have time for a full session, are traveling, drinking your tea on-the-go, or want a decent enough tea without breaking the bank, consider this tea. For the price, it’s worth checking out.

General Brewing info:
Rinse: I did not do a first wash as I did not think this tea needed it.
tea amount: 5.05 grams (entire pack)
water: 150 ml
general water temp (F): 199-204
Brewing times (seconds): 20-20-30-45-60-90….
Color: orange amber

Flavors: Floral, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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72

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90
drank Lao Cong Shui Xian by Old Ways Tea
54 tasting notes

A very lazy morning always requires tea and I wanted to do a tasting session with a new-to-me tea. However, I think I made a mistake with this morning’s selection.

Lao Cong Shui Xian tea from Old Ways Tea is NOT a morning tea. My very first cup hit me full in the face…..

This tea is like an old growth forest where the trees are ancient and the moss & lichen growing on them are just “old”. This is a Tea you enjoy in the late afternoon when you sit down to reflect on life and write down your memoirs. It’s that single cask whiskey that’s aged in that one barrel, forgotten about, then found a dozen decades later.

This is what I’d imagine mahogany to taste like — complex flavors but with a mellowness that doesn’t bog down the taste and keeps you from sinking too far into the complexity.

This tea will GROUND YOU. This tea will tell you about it’s long life as a tea tree starting with the present day as an ancient tree, then with each subsequent steep goes into the past about its mid life then its beginnings as a sapling then take you back full circle. Wow.

The cha Qi is slow moving. At first, almost imperceptible, then filling your head like a water fountain while keeping your feet rooted to the ground.

The dry leaf of this tea smells like dry roasted peanuts and wood.
The wet leaf has high notes of stone fruit & sweet grass.
The liquid smells of fresh air and leaves.

The broth itself is the taste of old forest/mahogany. It is thick and viscous on first sip and coats the tongue before sliding effortlessly down your throat. There’s no earthy taste in this tea; it’s all about the tree, wood, and forest.

By the second steep, I felt a warmth building in my chest with a quiet sense of calmness.
By the third steep, the cha Qi hit my head like tree branch on the head.
Subsequent steeps just built on top of that.

Everything just feels calm and collected. Despite it being early morning, I’m ready to take a nap. This is not a tea you drink on a daily basis. (I mean, you can, but it’s about $0.85 / gram) This is a tea you drink when you want something special, when you have time to savor it, and or when you want to experience it with friends.
-——————

STEEP INFO (Each pack is about 8 grams)

Tea: 5.06 grams of tea.
Water: 200F/150 ml.
Steep times (in seconds) :20,30,40,60,90,…

I cold brewed 2.85 grams in 350 ml of cold water. It’s just as good as the hot broth

Flavors: Roasted nuts, Sweet, warm grass, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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91

With this review, I am finally moving on to a tea I finished earlier this month. Looking over my rough draft of this review reminded me that the Rou Gui oolongs offered by Old Ways Tea always do it for me. I am not a huge Rou Gui fan, but I have been impressed by every Rou Gui from Old Ways Tea that I have tried. This tea did not even come close to breaking that trend. I found it to be yet another very enjoyable Rou Gui.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of charcoal, smoke, red wine, pine, black cherry, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, star anise, blackberry, and earth as well as some subtle grassy scents. The first infusion introduced suddenly amplified earth and cinnamon aromas as well as a pleasant ginger scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, pine, black cherry, roasted almond, smoke, and charcoal that were balanced by hints of red wine, earth, grass, pear, orange zest, and blackberry. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals (almost like mineral water), orange zest, black raspberry, and pomegranate as well as even stronger earthy aromas and some somewhat amplified grassy scents. More earth and grass notes came out in the mouth alongside subtle impressions of roasted peanut, ginger, and star anise. I also picked up on slightly stronger blackberry notes, subtle notes of black raspberry, and impressions of minerals, pomegranate, peach, orange zest, rock sugar, and apricot. The previously noted hints of red wine morphed into a flavor akin to that of red table grapes, while some unexpected notes of roasted barley also appeared. Though it may sound odd, I even picked up on some fleeting notes of peat and dark chocolate in the aftertaste. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, roasted barley, roasted peanut, roasted almond, earth, and pine that were balanced by suddenly emerging popcorn notes and hints of charcoal, orange zest, grass, pomegranate, blackberry, red grape, cinnamon, and black cherry.

This was an extremely challenging yet enjoyable Wuyi Rou Gui oolong. Teas of this type have a tendency to be very earthy, nutty, spicy, and heavy with prominent charcoal and smoke aromas and flavors, but this one was often more delicate, and it was always changing. The flavors had a tendency to suddenly mutate into something else, often while shifting in intensity. Throughout my review session, I could not shake the feeling that this tea was challenging me to keep up with it, and quite frankly, I am not certain I was always up to the task. That should be obvious in the description of its aromas and flavors I provided in the above paragraph. I quickly reached a point where all I could do was settle in for the ride and try not to think too hard about what was going on with this tea. Ultimately, I guess I picked it apart the best I could, but this tea very well may have withstood my probing without giving up all of its secrets and charms. In the end, I loved what I was able to get out of this tea and relished the challenge it presented, but I feel that it may be a bit too much for those new to Wuyi Rou Gui. Definitely try some of Old Ways Tea’s other Rou Gui offerings before moving on to this tea or one of their other higher end Rou Gui.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Blackberry, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Ginger, Grapes, Grass, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Peat, Pine, Popcorn, Raspberry, Red Apple, Red Wine, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Sugar

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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76
drank Lucky Accident by Old Ways Tea
54 tasting notes

I bought a sampler set as I was curious and I just happened to like the name of it.

Dry leaf aroma from bag: It’s a lovely sent of roasted oolong with hit of herbal medicine. I really love this smell. It reminds me of my grandfather’s tea cabinet.

Leaf in warmed gaiwan: There’s a hint of sweetness — fruits & florals — with that smokey charcoal scent.

Wet leaves: High notes of sugar & fruit (peach?). Deeper notes of roasted charcoal. As the steeps increase, the high notes become more prominent.

Brew times: 60s, 75s, 90… I was able to do about 4-5 steeps before I felt the tea gave out. YMMV with brew times & water temps.

Water temps: 196 – 200 deg F

(Since this was a roasted WuYi oolong, I felt comfortable brewing it at a higher temp and longer steep time than a Dan Cong oolong.)

Color: It starts of a deep rich red amber, but decreases in color/intensity with each subsequent steep until it was about a mid-orange amber.

Tea broth: This is an extremely easy tea to drink. It starts off slightly sweet which counteracts the mild bitterness that follow on the tail end; it’s fairly balanced. It’s got a medium-body at the first steep and drops of with subsequent steeps (which I attribute to my longer steep times and extracting most of the flavors)

The flavors of this tea aren’t complex, but they are well balanced and gives you enough to enjoy the tea without feeling like it’s missing something (which I find often happens). There’s a mild tongue drying after drinking the tea, but it’s pleasant as it also causes a mild watering on the tongue. There’s also a very mild cha qi in the mouth & throat that is refreshing.

Honestly, it reminds me of my grandfather’s tea, so there’s a bit of nostalgia at play here.
I would NOT brew this Grandpa style as I think it might get very bitter over time.

Overall, I think this would make an excellent travel tea to have in your valise. It’s got enough flavor to be enjoyable but not so complex that you need to sit there and think about what you just drank. The small pre-sized packets are handy for traveling (although not convenient if you want loose leaf tea.)

The pack comes in 8 grams. I brewed up 5 grams and will be using 3 grams in a cold brew.

Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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92

Folks, here is my final review of the day. This was another of my July sipdowns. Some of you may recall that I was extremely impressed by the 2016 version of this tea, and once I dug through my sample stash to find this offering, I was excited to try it. Well, I am happy to report that I found this offering to be even better than the one from 2016.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted almond, rock sugar, cream, char, pine, raisin, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of orchid, blueberry, and raspberry as well as subtle scents of grass and baked bread. The first infusion introduced a slightly stronger baked bread scent as well as a subtle blackberry aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, cream, char, blueberry, baked bread, blackberry, roasted almond, pine, and rock sugar that were balanced by hints of grass, butter, raspberry, smoke, raisin, and black cherry. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, roasted peanut, cedar, rose, black cherry, butter, banana, cinnamon, and roasted grain. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of raisin, grass, butter, and black cherry came out in the mouth alongside very subtle hints of dark chocolate and slightly amplified raspberry notes. Impressions of cedar, roasted peanut, minerals, plum, rose, orange zest, and pomegranate also appeared alongside subtle roasted grain, cinnamon, banana, and nutmeg notes. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, cream, grass, butter, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted grain, and orange zest that were underscored by hints of pine, char, rock sugar, raisin, black cherry, blueberry, orchid, and pomegranate. There were also some hints of popcorn that came out late.

This was a tremendously enjoyable Qi Lan that yielded a liquor with a smooth mouthfeel and incredible depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth. Fans of the cultivar should find a lot to enjoy in this tea. Considering that Old Ways Tea is batting 1.000 with their roasted Qi Lan oolongs, I cannot wait for the 2018 and 2019 versions.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Grain, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Sugar

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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90

This was another of my July sipdowns. I’ve been on a quest the last couple of years to develop a better understanding of Rou Gui. It is apparently a super popular oolong overseas, but I have had great difficulty seeing the appeal. To me, it often seems very woody and heavy, though I have managed to try several Rou Gui that have shown tremendous depth and character. This was one of them. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, rock sugar, mushroom, cream, vanilla, pomegranate, and blueberry. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, black cherry, earth, and pine. The first infusion introduced aromas of smoke, char, and plum. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, rock sugar, cream, vanilla, roasted almond, and blueberry that were chased by hints of pine, smoke, char, earth, black cherry, nutmeg, and pomegranate. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of red apple, red wine, blackberry, and tobacco as well as stronger smoke and char scents. Stronger and more immediately noticeable smoke, char, earth, pomegranate, and black cherry notes appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of mushroom, roasted almond, and plum. I also found notes of blackberry, red wine, minerals, and tobacco as well as hints of grass, cooked spinach, cocoa, red apple, and orange zest. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, pine, smoke, black cherry, earth, cinnamon, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of grass, red apple, cocoa, pomegranate, tobacco, red wine, mushroom, and blackberry. There were even a few hints of roasted barley that emerged on the last two or three infusions.

This was a very nice Rou Gui. It was not quite as nutty or as woody as I was expecting, but it displayed tremendously enjoyable spice and fruit notes. It’s rather hard to get me to give an overwhelmingly positive review to a Rou Gui, but this one was delightful. Old Ways Tea continues to impress me with their offerings.

Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Red Wine, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Spinach, Sugar, Tobacco, Vanilla

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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80

I’m moving on to a more recent sipdown with this review. I’m pretty sure this was either the last tea I finished in July or the first one I finished in August. Those of you who are familiar with my reviews of Wuyi oolongs will realize that I am more than a bit of a Shui Xian nut as I purchase and try tons of different Shui Xian oolongs. Normally, I find it to be a tea that is hard to screw up, though it is certainly possible to get hold of a bad one (there was a Zheng Yan Shui Xian from Yunnan Sourcing a couple years back that still makes me cringe when I think about it). Fortunately, this was not a bad Shui Xian. Old Ways Tea generally does Shui Xian really well, and though this was not the best Shui Xian I have tried from them, it was a very good, solid one.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of charcoal, smoke, pine, pomegranate, cinnamon, raisin, cranberry, and dried blueberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of tobacco, black cherry, and strawberry. The first infusion introduced aromas of dark chocolate, orange zest, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, charcoal, smoke, rock sugar, cinnamon, raisin, cranberry, pomegranate, and black cherry that were chased by hints of malt, pine, dried blueberry, blackberry, grass, and orange zest. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of grass, rock sugar, roasted peanut, and tar as well as subtler scents of malt, mushroom, and earth. Hints of strawberry, tobacco, and dark chocolate appeared in the mouth alongside stronger notes of grass, orange zest, pine, malt, and blackberry. I also picked up hints of tar, mushroom, and honey as well as stronger impressions of minerals, earth, and roasted peanut. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, earth, cream, charcoal, pine, orange zest, and grass that were underscored by hints of roasted peanut, tar, raisin, rock sugar, butter, pomegranate, mushroom, black cherry, blackberry, and tobacco.

This was a very pleasant Shui Xian that was something of a grower in the sense that I found myself growing fonder of it the more time I spent with it. I was extremely impressed by how balanced its flavors were as well as the pleasant body and texture it displayed. It did fade a little quickly, however, and there were a few moments where I thought it got just a little muddy in the mouth, but aside from those relatively minor gripes, I did not find there to be much wrong with this one. It was definitely a worthwhile Shui Xian overall.

Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Strawberry, Sugar, Tar, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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96

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Leather, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Nuts, Oats, Raisins, Rose, Rum, Spicy, Wood

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