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34

The dry leaf smells wonderful a big wallop of fruity spiced compote but the experience is severely disjointed and displays only some of those notes within the watery body. Wet rocks taste but not mineral with vestigial oddities that I can’t place. A strange bitter-herbaceous finish that I imagine as the taste of chomping on some water-logged thistle flowers. Flowery-plum skin aftertaste lingers and with this third steep, the brew does taste like plum but not sweet. The first steep gave a warming/cooling camphorous rush in my chest which, beyond the dry leaf aroma, is my favorite part of this tea. I’m not going to bother going beyond this third infusion.

This is a good candidate for a home re-roasting.

Flavors: Allspice, Apricot, Bitter, Blackberry, Blueberry, Camphor, Chocolate, Coffee, Flowers, Herbaceous, Honey, Peat, Plum, Raspberry, Sour, Thistle, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
gmathis

Your “wet rocks but not mineral” makes me think of the way Turkey Creek smells after a flash flood :)

derk

There you go, making me miss Midwest thunderstorms. I did get to experience a hair-raising one in Florida a few weeks ago.

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84

Been drinking this western the past several days. It’s a pretty good tea this way, and I’m able to mostly avoid the parched throat effect. If oversteeped, it tastes like persimmon butter but with a very clean mouthfeel-taste, some kind of spice (allspice?) and plumeria, which I would have never guessed if I hadn’t read Tea Necromancer’s note from years past. Also bitter and a bit parchy.

The fruity flavors aren’t as pronounced or nuanced prepared western as with gongfu but it makes a gulpable and rather caffeinating cup.

Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Flowers, Mineral, Persimmon, Spices

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84

March 2021 harvest, gone gongfu.

This is a very approachable oolong like most highly oxidized, or red, oolong. In character, it is much like a bug-bittern oolong mixed with a dark white tea.

The aromas and quickly developing, lingering aftertaste are really a treat. In the hard and shiny nuggets of the dry leaf, I pick up on white grape juice, muscatel and sweet, roasted notes. In addition to those, warming the leaf brings a strong aroma of honeyed, baked cherries — very natural. Rinsing brings the roasted notes more forward as roasted nuts, and they are supplemented by paper, plum, blackberry, cherry and some hints of resin; in general, sweet and tangy, roasted.

At first the aroma of the tea tends toward honeyed baked cherries. As steepings progress, the aroma turns into a dominant white grape-muscatel. With that transformation, the tea also becomes noticeably floral. Jasmine comes to mind and that fits my experience of some jasmine-scented teas of white, green and black types — many of them tend to have a strong grape note to my senses.

With the juicy, pleasing aroma also comes an array of fruit in the mouth. The main taste of the tea is rather woody with a light touch of honey, but as soon as I swallow, tangy fruit tones bloom and merge with the supple and fluid juicy tones. I pick up on apricot and cooked plantain mixed with cherry, white grape juice, muscatel, plums, blackberries. Soon after, a bright buttery-cream taste merges with the fruitiness in the aftertaste. It’s just the right accent, not overtaking the palate. Final steeps become woodier, more floral and drier as the butter-cream aftertaste persists.

The tea has a body like soft spring water and leaves an impression of being somewhat pectic and oily. Initial infusions have a clean and glassy mineral quality and a noticeable salivation effect. One thing I take issue with is the tea has a tendency to have a papery-tannic drying quality in the throat, making for a laborious swallow in the minutes after finishing a cup.

I admit I drink some snooty teas so when I do have a session with an affordable tea with easily accessible qualities, I get so excited at the idea of recommending it to newer gongfu tea drinkers. I don’t think you can go wrong with this Thai oolong, just be aware of the dry throat effect!

Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Blackberry, Brown Toast, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Juicy, Mineral, Muscatel, Oily, Paper, Plum, Resin, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Soft, Spring Water, Sweet, Tangy, Tannin, White Grapes, Woody

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
CrowKettle

Oh, this harvest sounds good! And agree that the price point for this is great!

derk

I liked it a lot and very much recommend it for the price.

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94

I bought 50 g of this tea in my Black Friday 2020 blowout with Derk, and have finished a little more than half of it. I steeped around 7 g in my 150 ml clay oolong pot using 195F water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. However, this pot pours much more slowly than my porcelain pot, so steep times are actually a bit longer.

The dry aroma is of citrus, stonefruit, orchids, other florals, cookies, and sugarcane. The first steep is very floral, with notes of orchid, honeysuckle, orange blossom, sweet pea, and other flowers, plus cookies, butter, citrus, peach, spinach, and grass. The second steep brings out cooked pineapple, citrus, cream, pine, herbs, minerals, and peach, plus sugarcane and even more florals. I see where Derk is getting green apple, though sadly, the cherry eludes me. It has a long peachy/herbaceous/vegetal aftertaste. The tea becomes a little more vegetal in the next steep, though with lots of fruit and florals to balance it out. By steep four, some nuttiness is apparent and the cooked pineapple is a bit stronger. The next few steeps continue in this vein, becoming more savoury and vegetal as the session goes on. However, the citrus, peach, orchid, and honeysuckle continue until almost the last steep, along with the grass, veggies, and minerals.

This oolong didn’t deserve to sit in my cupboard for over a year. It’s a lovely, uplifting Li Shan at a good price, and I will be buying more when I next order from What-Cha.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pine, Pineapple, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Evol Ving Ness

The thing is that we cannot drink all the teas all at once, so some will have to sit.

Leafhopper

Agreed. However, some teas sit better than others, and it’s sad to see those with shorter shelf lives deteriorating. I need to drink my green oolongs faster or buy fewer of them. Having said that, I don’t think this one has lost much flavour.

Evol Ving Ness

Agreed. Always nice when one expects the worst and finds that it is not so bad after all.

CrowKettle

The conundrum of exceptional green oolong: how do you drink it at its best while maintaining a steady supply of green oolong in the cupboard.

I try to save those little fresh packets that come with a lot of the Taiwanese teas, but not sure they’re good or super effective.

Leafhopper

Evol Ving Ness, yes, being pleasantly surprised is a good thing. :)

CrowKettle, as someone who loves fresh green oolongs, I deal with this conundrum all the time! Unfortunately, I tend to overbuy and also hoard my really good/higher-end oolongs, even when it would be better to drink them right away.

I also wonder about the effectiveness of those little freshness packets. I use tea clips to minimize the air in open vacuum-sealed pouches, which I think does some good. I worry about oolongs in Ziploc packages that allow more air to hit the leaves.

CrowKettle

Mine get dumped into tiny washi tins (not sure they’re effective either). I only have three of them, so I limit myself to how many Taiwanese teas I can open (or buy) at once. This means I always have far less beloved oolong than any other type of tea in my collection. I need a better system! D:

vacuumed-sealed pouches probably does a world of good.

Leafhopper

I also tend to have three or four vacuum-sealed packets open at once, plus any other oolongs in Ziploc bags. That doesn’t prevent me from buying many more vacuum-sealed packages and storing them in my tea museum. :P I don’t plan on buying any more green oolong until this summer, so I have some time to finish them off.

Evol Ving Ness

There’s also the shipping fee catch. More orders mean fresher tea and more shipping fees. Bigger orders mean more risk of potentially stale tea. So, the choice is to spend more on tea and hoard or spend more on shipping.

Hoarding seems to come naturally to me :)
So I try to preserve teas as best I can. I know that making regular orders and paying shipping fees plus plus plus would never happen in my case. I open two or two green oolongs at a time, keep them cool and away from light, and hope for the best.

Leafhopper

Evol Ving Ness, those shipping fees are terrible, especially as I seem to be buying from vendors that don’t offer sales or free shipping thresholds. I wish we had more good unflavoured tea vendors in Canada, though I fear the prices they’d have to charge in CAD would make people reluctant to buy from them. Cha Yi and Camellia Sinensis have low thresholds and sell some nice green oolongs, but I guess I’m becoming an oolong snob.

Hoarding also seems to come naturally to me. Maybe I need a spreadsheet or other system for tracking my purchases so I don’t get too far behind.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, Cha Yi is new to me.

I’ve been resistant to the spreadsheet idea. My approach is shuffling and reshuffling my tea stash regularly. That just seems to happen.

I was grouping teas according to age/ purchase date. Then, according to how much is left in the packet (to encourage sipdowns of smaller quantities). Then, by brand. Then, by tea type.

And on it goes. I am so fickle with my tea urges. I tend to want either a particular tea or type of tea and I’ll turn everything upside down to find it.

Keeping a spreadsheet is one thing and then there’s the arranging of teas to find that thing when needed…

CrowKettle

I had all my teas listed on a spreadsheet once. Then I rebelled against myself :P

My approach to tea drinking is “whimsical”. Smaller opened packets are stored near the kettle and get finished off first; These are usually flavoured teas. I don’t like flavoured teas more than straight teas, I just hoard my straight teas more, and store them in a separate place.

I haven’t heard of Cha Yi either!

Leafhopper

Cha Yi is a shop in Quebec that sells some nice straight teas. I liked their Alishan and Taitung Hong oolongs and their Mi Xiang black tea. It also helps that they have a reasonable shipping threshold ($60?) and charge in CAD.

I think I’d rebel against a spreadsheet, too, which is why I haven’t made one. (Also, my stash is huge and it would be a lot of work.) I also turn everything upside down to find a particular tea, though I tend to keep everything in the box it came in so I go by vendor. I have a tea cupboard in my kitchen and a tea closet in my bedroom, and things in the cupboard get finished first. I also tend to stick to a certain tea type for a while. For example, I seem to be on a black tea kick in spite of my superabundance of green oolongs.

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91

This tea is for those who love the taste of sweet rice, which I happen to be.

I’ve had this tea maybe three or four times, but this time I got hit with a wave of vanilla into just wonderfully tasting rice! It’s incredible. It is a tea I might have to start gifting, because it is so non traditional and unexpected. I would be curious if you used the spent leaves on top of some cooked rice how it would taste… especially with some soy sauce. That might just be my lunch.

Flavors: Hay, Mineral, Rice, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 tsp 13 OZ / 384 ML

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Took a travel mug of this with me for booster day. See previous note. No menthol or eucalyptus detected in this steeping.

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These half day retreat days are flying by. The week is almost over.

I am still challenged in streamlining and simplifying in everyday life, aside from the time that I spend on the cushion.

Still drinking straight teas. For now.

Ok, I find this tea rather remarkable.

The dry leaf is long, thick, wiry.

Steeped, first, rich dense stone fruit, plum, prune and malt. Then, camphor and eucalyptus. Mineral, a bit metallic even. Almond. Followed by a honeyed finish.

Pretty great.

Happy New Year to you, Steepsters!

May you be healthy and well. May your cups be full and warm, may your stashes be fresh and plentiful, may there always be room on your credit card for a coveted and desirable tea purchase or two. May your hearts be kind and compassionate to both yourselves and to those around you.

Cameron B.

Happy New Year! ❤

Courtney

Happy New Year! :)

Rosehips

Happy New Year!

Leafhopper

Happy New Year!

ashmanra

Happy New Year!

CrowKettle

Happy New Year! :)

Martin Bednář

I am late, but Happy New Year!

tea-sipper

I’m REALLY late on reading these but that is a lovely tea note. Happy new year :D

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98

Okay, time to get another oldie out of the way. This was one of my sipdowns from the summer of 2020. To this day, it remains one of the best senchas I have ever had.

I made use of a multi-step Western preparation method for this tea. I started off by steeping approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 fluid ounces of 149 F water for 1 minute. Four additional infusions followed. I varied the steep time for each infusion, cutting back to 30 seconds for the second infusion, then 45 seconds for the third infusion, 1 minute 30 seconds for the fourth infusion, and then a full 3 minutes for the fifth and final infusion. I also increased the water temperature by 5 degrees for each of the subsequent infusions, so I went from 154 F on the second infusion to 169 F on the final infusion.

Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves produced lovely aromas of spinach, grass, baked bread, honey, zucchini, and asparagus. After infusion, the tea liquor offered up novel aromas of lettuce, kale, chestnut, and seaweed. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of snow pea, honey, lettuce, grass, cream, butter, chestnut, zucchini, and light vegetable broth balanced by subtler impressions of pear, green apple, lemon zest, asparagus, seaweed, baked bread, and orange zest. The second infusion introduced aromas of cream, butter, and toasted sweet corn in addition to subtler aromas of snow peas and hazelnut. A fine minerality emerged in the mouth while stronger and somewhat more immediately evident notes of lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus appeared. I also detected subtle impressions of toasted sweet corn, straw, hazelnut, kale, and bamboo. The third infusion saw the nose turn very fine and light, with a ghostly mineral presence appearing. Even stronger and more dominant lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus notes were evident in the mouth, though this time they were balanced by amplified bamboo and toasted sweet corn flavors. A slightly stronger baked bread note also appeared along with hints of spearmint, sugarcane, coriander, and marshmallow. The fourth infusion saw the mineral presence on the nose strengthen and take on something of a marine quality reminiscent of sea salt or sea spray. More of a vegetable broth presence emerged on the palate with pronounced mineral, sugarcane, lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus notes. Slightly stronger impressions of spearmint, coriander, and marshmallow were also present, and fresh hints of sea salt and moss appeared as well. The fifth and final infusion did not offer much in terms of aroma. The tea’s bouquet was mild and heavy on mineral character with traces of toasted sweet corn and grass remaining. The tea liquor had washed out greatly at this point, though very subtle citrus zest, asparagus, chestnut, lettuce, grass, spinach, kale, spearmint, coriander, moss, sea salt, cream, and butter hints could still be detected under a bed of soft minerality.

This was an absolutely fantastic sencha. The tea liquor it produced was vibrant, gorgeously textured, incredibly complex, and almost unbelievably refined. I loved the way the tea evolved over the course of my review session. Each infusion offered something unique and different on the nose and in the mouth. Fortunately, What-Cha still stocks this tea. Make a point of trying it if you have yet to get around to it.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Bread, Broth, Butter, Chestnut, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Hazelnut, Honey, Kale, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Marshmallow, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Pear, Salt, Seaweed, Snow Peas, Spearmint, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Zucchini

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Ok, so Derk pointed out most helpfully that this is NOT the same tea as Persia Lahijian Black tea.

I have both, so today I cracked open this one and yes indeed, they are different. Still making my mind up about this one.

So far, I’ve got stone fruit, muscatel, malt, nut, wood, leather, something in the dried mint family, and a bit of the raspy back of throat thing (though chocolate is helping with that).

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See Persia Lahijan Black Tea or Persia Lahijan Hand-made Black Tea

CrowKettle

I have this tea too and I don’t know what page I should post a note to :P

Evol Ving Ness

Haha. Looking forward to hearing what your experience is like. Good to see you here. I was a bit worried after your last flu-incubator exposure comment.

CrowKettle

I’m alive but still feeling blah, cuddling with my much loved chicken noodle and honey. There’s not enough tests here so I get to sit around assuming I may have a mild case of omicron, but not knowing (this is the worst part). The rest of my family is asymptomatic if they even have whatever this is, and I’m super jelly.

I too look forward to drinking this tea soon :P

Evol Ving Ness

No tests here either. Or the good masks, for that matter.

I hope you are ok and things just blow over without any drama.

Here, every time I clear my throat or blow my nose, I get a niggling thought. What a drag.

derk

Different than the Persia Lahijan black tea. This is full leaf, baby. And dare I say not as good but still I love it so. It reminds me of a Mr. Goodbar.

Evol Ving Ness

Oooh, thanks for pointing that out. I haven’t opened the packet because I still have some of the other on the go.

I just assumed that this is the exact same tea re-labelled as some parts of the world are banned from accepting products from certain other countries for political reasons.

Oops. I was wrong then. Is this still made in Lahijan?

Evol Ving Ness

Also, I don’t know Mr. Goodbar, aside from the film. We may not have it here (‘though I am not certain).

derk

Yeah, your assumption was mine regarding the difference between label and site name. This is grown in Lahijan, yes. Mr. Goodbar is a Hershey’s candy bar made of crap milk chocolate and peanuts. I scoop one up every now and then :)

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, looking forward to your review of it.

also, thanks for the chocolate bar explanation.

Evol Ving Ness

Also, CrowKettle, I really hope you are feeling better.

CrowKettle

I was so confused when I received this tea, “I thought I bought Persia Lahijan something something,” until I remembered “trade embargoes.” :)

Still not up to trying this tea even though I’m super curious now, but I’m finally improving! I’ll make some tea note when I’m less stuffed up (also, I don’t have omicron; it’s just.. something else, hurrah!)

Evol Ving Ness

Hurray for the something else part! May that too pass quickly and easily.

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There are several listings for this tea. More likely, according to tea reviews, this is the one I drank yesterday and I am having again today.

This oolong is a marvel. I wish I had more more descriptors to adequately convey what is going on in my cup.

Fragrant. Floral nectar. Sugarcane sweet. Gentle honeyed sweetness. Honeysuckle, maybe. A bit green with subsequent steeps . And juicy, very juicy.

Leafhopper

Sounds like the roast doesn’t overwhelm this oolong.

derk

Oh my gosh, I’m so glad to see another note for this tea! I think it was a one-time offer when I bought it several years ago. I was so enamored with it that I bought an extra 50g bag to store sealed. I see it every now and then when rooting through my oolong box and it always makes me smile. The time to open the tomb will come.

Evol Ving Ness

:)

My packet was sealed and hidden in a dark cool place, which, I suppose is the reason that is tastes so fresh and lovely. But damn, this a very lovely tea.

If I had tasted it immediately, I also would have picked up more too. Oh well. I don’t need to have ALL the teas. Immediately, anyway. :)

Seems you and I have similar tastes in terms of what we find to be fabulous.

derk

Someday we’ll have to share teas in person :)

Evol Ving Ness

That would be awesome and I would love that.

That said, I am out of commission for swaps because for the past couple of years, I cannot commit to any sustained effort. Health and other things have been a challenge and I don’t want to disappoint anyone, or myself, for that matter. Likewise, I can’t take on extra stress and/or additional commitments.

Hope that doesn’t sound too crazy. That’s just the way things are at the mo. Hopefully not forever.

derk

No worries, the last thing I want is to impose. Be well <3

Evol Ving Ness

No imposition at all. Thank you for hearing me. And you too. <3

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93

I’ve been meaning to write a note for this tea for a while. Daylon generously sent a sample to me last winter, and after smelling the leaves, I immediately ordered 50 g in the middle of what was supposed to be a self-imposed buying ban. (No regrets.) I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain teapot using 195F water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

Dry, this smells a lot like a Tie Guan Yin with some high mountain floral flourishes: orchids, other flowers, apricot, pleasant sourness, and herbs. The first steep has notes of apricot, orchid, lilac, pleasant sourness, herbs, and grass, with a lingering apricot aftertaste. The next steep is more herbaceous, and adds butter and some spinach. The stonefruit notes are more pronounced in steeps three and four, though I don’t detect pineapple as Daylon did. However, I see where he’s getting cilantro. I taste pronounced apricot with overtones of peach, with the sour, herbaceous, floral finish of Tie Guan Yin. The next few steeps are greener, with grass, spinach, and other veggies blending with the stonefruit and florals. This is starting to taste more like a regular Tie Guan Yin. The final few steeps fade into generic veggies and flowers.

Like Daylon, I had a hard time listing everything I tasted in this tea, and think that “ethereal” is a good way to describe it. I found it to be more like a Tie Guan Yin than a Li Shan oolong, though the profiles of these teas overlap to some extent. I’ll have fun playing with my 50 g of this tea next year.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Grass, Green, Herbaceous, Lilac, Orchid, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Spinach, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Sugarcane sweet.. Floral. Juicy.

Yes, I know juicy is probably not a flavour.

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77

Well, how’s it going everyone? Me, I am so far behind. I had planned on getting through two full review notebooks before the end of the year, and that is not happening. I’ve been extremely busy this month and have not been able to motivate myself to spend much time on Steepster when I’ve had free time. I was hoping to pop back on here and get at least two or three reviews posted today, but it is looking like I’ll be fortunate to get this one wrapped up before I have to get back to work.

This was one of my more recent sipdowns, coming from around late October or early November. This was likely the last Japanese green tea of the year for me. I think it was the only one I had left in my collection at the time I finished my pouch of it. It was also a tea that I found to be a bit difficult to rate. It was not bad, but it did not offer the most consistent drinking experience from cup to cup or session to session.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I started off by steeping approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 fluid ounces of 158 F water for 1 minute. Four additional infusions followed. The second infusion lasted 30 seconds and was done with 163 F water. The third infusion made use of 168 F water and lasted 45 seconds. The fourth infusion lasted 1 minute 30 seconds and was done with 173 F water. The fifth and final infusion lasted 3 minutes and was done with 178 F water. Just to be clear, all infusions made use of 8 fluid ounces of water.

Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, grass, peas, butter, and seaweed. After infusion, I detected new aromas of minerals, zucchini, summer squash, and asparagus. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, asparagus, butter, baked bread, balsam, grass, zucchini, peas, and summer squash that were balanced by subtler impressions of marshmallow, seaweed, hay, lemon, and honey. The second infusion brought out a clearer and stronger asparagus aroma alongside scents of cream and parsley. A slight earthiness emerged in the mouth with a somewhat stronger seaweed presence, a clear parsley note, and hints of minerals, green wood, straw, lettuce, chestnut, sugarcane, and green apple. The third infusion saw the tea’s bouquet bizarrely die away, while stronger mineral, lettuce, and green apple notes made themselves known in the mouth. The fourth infusion did not offer up much at all in terms of aroma, though surprisingly strong butter, grass, sugarcane, and honey notes emerged in the mouth with hints of vanilla and carrot in tow. The final infusion again did not offer much on the nose. The tea liquor lightened and softened, becoming very creamy and subtly vegetal with pronounced butter notes, a faint sweetness, and a heavier mineral presence.

Ehh, this was not a terrible sencha, but it was also somewhat disappointing for me. I loved what the first two infusions brought to the table, but the final three left a lot to be desired. Compared to some of the other Obubu senchas I have tried, this was a more rustic and less refined offering, and it sadly lacked the staying power of some of their finest teas. Still, it was far from terrible and was worth trying for what the first couple of infusions had to offer. For now, I’m going to classify this tea as something I’m glad I tried but probably will not be in any rush to have again.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bread, Butter, Carrot, Chestnut, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Apple, Green Wood, Hay, Honey, Lemon, Lettuce, Marshmallow, Mineral, Parsley, Peas, Seaweed, Squash, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Zucchini

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
CrowKettle

Aww, glad you’re ok if busy!

Don’t think I’ve ever had an Autumn Obubu Sencha. Interesting, but sounds like I’d want a small amount only :P

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Yesterday, this tasted a bit thin because the water was cooler than needed, so I thought I would give it another try today.

Lovely. That said, I feel the flavours could be fuller.

Perhaps the issue is that I had steeped quasi-Western style, flash steeping in my
Libre. Though this method has worked very well with a variety of milk oolongs. Maybe this particular tea requires more leaf.

Perhaps if I were to steep using a gaiwan, the flavours would be more concentrated and evocative.

Or maybe I have been frying my tastebuds with too many froufrou teas and an abundance of spicy food.

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Gentle sweet mango and milk.

It reminds me very much of the mango sticky rice with coconut condensed milk I was overdosing on throughout the summer. It was one of the few things that made the summer humidity remotely bearable.

The milk here is not over the top creamy and thick, but it’s present. Just mellow.

The sweetness lingers on the lips after each sip.

Quite a delightful way to start the day.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday.

Happy Christmas, Steepsters!

I hope the year ahead is filled to the brim with kindness, peace, well-being, and health.
Cameron B.

Sounds lovely, and Happy Christmas!

derk

Merry Christmas :)

Martin Bednář

Happy holidays!

CrowKettle

Happy Christmas!

This my absolute favourite “mango” tea XD

Leafhopper

Merry Christmas! It’s nice when fruity notes show up in Jin Xuan.

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94

Based on the reviews, it is a polarizing tea, with some reviewers being clearly disappointed and turned off by it, while the others sing praises. I am firmly on the side of the smitten and impressed..

This tea is very aromatic (honey, cherry and fruit in general) and its taste is full of the exuberant flavors of light-colored honey, baked cherry, banana, apricot, milk and baked bread. The taste is very loud and clear, with different elements blending together seamlessly. Not much of the bite at all.

This is clearly a dessert tea. It comes out well both Western style and gongfu. I am quite impressed by what this oolong delivers for quite an affordable price.

Courtney

I’ve just been introduced to red oolongs in the last couple weeks and I can’t get over how delicious they’ve been!

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Hmm, I’m certain I’ve commented and posted on this beloved tea. So has derk. Possibly Martin too. Off to track that down. Likely under a slightly different heading. Because it is most definitely the same tea. Possibly a different crop.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Cameron. I did find it and then I got sleepy. The tea was delicious though.

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Tl/dr

So, I have been in the habit of ending the year with a weeklong meditation retreat.

Enter COVId and lockdown and quasi-lockdown and the unease, if not paranoia, of emerging into the world. Needless to say, the retreats have been cancelled.

And then, as Omicron starts making a name for itself, another retreat is announced, both live and virtual.

Despite various precautions, I don’t feel comfortable spending half a day in a room full of distanced others breathing. Even with masks on. Even with the windows open. Nope.

So I am zooming in to be present. Hehe, excuse the pun. Sorry, not sorry.

Normally, the retreats are full days with heavily ritualized silent mindful breakfasts and lunches and clean-ups and individualized communal chores. Of course, now, none of this is on. Just the half-day meditations and talks and feedback/discussion.

So I am making an effort to insert a bit of streamlining into my home life to mimic the full retreat.

It hasn’t been all that effective yet. For one thing, I have been online, distracting myself with social media and films and such.

However, I have been waking up early, whether my neighbours have allowed me to sleep much or not. I have been reading dharmic texts. I have been more aware of my habitual patterns and thoughts, positive and not so much.

Also, I have been choosing to drink straight teas over my froufrou choices or over the top eggnog additions.

I don’t know whether I will continue with straight teas. After all, eggnog season is brief and I am weak. But for today…

This tea, of course, is not at all any kind of sacrifice, what with luscious scents and flavours of bittersweet chocolate and freshly baked bread. Occasional peek a boos of sweet potato and prune.

After the second steep, there’s a bit of raspy throat kind of harshness, but other than that, this tea is a great delight and I am grateful to have some in my cup.

Harvest—Spring 2020

CrowKettle

I reached for this one today too (also to temporarily escape froufrou teas). It’s a great yet simple comfort.

Glad to hear you are able to connect with the mediation retreat during these times.

Evol Ving Ness

Ha! Yup, this tea is pretty great.

Interesting to hear your perspectives on it. I think mine is a previous harvest, but I’ll have to check. Currently, it is 5am and I am up: thanks, neighbours. Not checking packet right now.

Thanks. Me too. Sanity-making. Well, maybe that is going too far in terms of optimism, but it is a great support to attain a bit of groundedness.

Evol Ving Ness

Mine is Spring 2020.

CrowKettle

I don’t think I got the chance to try that harvest!

derk

Thanks for talking about your year-end retreat — you’ve inspired me to look into something similar for the next New Year. For me, the first two days of 2021 are dedicated to fasting. I hope you can achieve what’s needed through virtual attendance :)

Evol Ving Ness

Highly recommend, derk.

Of course, each person’s experience is different, but for me, it’s a way of checking in more deeply with myself and becoming more grounded. Especially valuable in these times when so many of us are struggling.

Normally, I find the whole holiday and Christmas season overwhelming. The retreat helps simplify, clarify, focus, and balance.

Here, it is the same person who leads the retreat every year. He’s been meditating forever, but he’s very real, very human, very funny.

Zooming, surprisingly, has been very inclusive, so it’s the next best thing.

Still, if possible, an on-site retreat with or without overnight stays is probably more of an in-depth experience.

But this here, for me, is working and certainly fulfilling what I came for.

If you are interested, I may have some suggestions as to where you might begin your search.

derk

Thanks for sharing. I will take this to PM soon enough.

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Malt, caramel, bread, sweet potato, a wee bit of smoke. Very lovely.

After a few days of French flavoured days and this new obsession of mine with milk and eggnog, it was good to have an excellent straight tea, straight up, no fuss.

I may have let the water cool just a bit more than needed. More attention needed next time.

I like to have this tea on hand in my stash to come back to. Consistently delicious.

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I am still testing this one out. It’s a very clean and easy going oolong so far, but I’ve not find the leaf ratio I like yet. I’ve overleafed it once. So far, creamy and floral with hyacinth in that department for sure . Full texture, light body and flavor. Water chestnut is the big note for me so far, maybe something resembling unflavored almond milk. Aroma is very soothing, but it doesn’t always show up in the flavor. It is easy to oversteep, and I’ve lost on some complexity before gong fu. It gets milkier as it cools off western. It’s not particularly sweet, yet very approachable with healthy L-theanine calming energy.

I’ve already plowed through half of my package as I’ve abused and experimented with it. Easy western with 2 minutes has worked best for me so far. I may need to up the temperature gong fu. We’ll see. I’m curious what Eastteaguy got from this one. I can say that I wish I got more of the Lishan on sale, but I’m happy to be drinking this one. The clean qualties impress me the most so far. It’s not extremely brothy or spinachy as some Gaoshans can be, and leans more floral watercress than vegetal. I’ll come back to it and likely will finish this off before the year ends.

Flavors: Almond, Chestnut, Creamy, Floral, Green, Milk, Spring Water

Evol Ving Ness

Has anyone heard from our eastkyteaguy? I’ve been thinking of him all day with the latest news. Worried.

Daylon R Thomas

He liked a post yesterday, but that’s it. The latest I saw was the current job he’s trying out, but I haven’t heard anything further from that.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks. I hope he’s ok.

mrmopar

I will see if I can email him.

Evol Ving Ness

Much appreciated, thank you, mrmopar.

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93

It’s a lovely tea, and the recipient of my most recent reorder. The roast is present, but not overpowering. The body is still light and playful.

I brewed this western style and I love dosing it with some coconut sugar, especially in the later (4+) brews I can get out of it.

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