I adore this tea. It’s a little on the thin side and missing a lingering aftertaste but it makes up for that with its clean, dark and seductive waves of black licorice, star anise and concentrated red cherry aroma and taste. It has just a hint of bitterness and astringency that mingle with the sweet-sour taste. I like to do two western steeps.

The base tea is Whispering Pines’ Ailaoshan Black which I also adore and have ordered over a few seasons. It tends to be a light-bodied cookie-wood-dark fruit tasting tea to me. This Cheshire Black is from 2017 if I recall correctly and it seems that the base tea has matured, really bringing forward a red cherry aroma and taste. To me it is not a medicinal cherry; rather it is specifically reminiscent of cherry Jolly Ranchers candies. The star anise has lost its sharp edge since I bought this batch but it is in no danger of fading away anytime soon.

Man, this is the perfect tea for this time of year.

On a tea related note, school was cancelled M-W (we also have off R and F for American Thanksgiving) due to the air quality still being so poor from the fire up north. With my unexpected free time today, I wandered the streets of Chinatown in search of puerh storage containers.

I’m excited to have found a clay pot that’s glazed everywhere except the underside of the lid. It’s the perfect size to accommodate 4-200g cakes and I can wet the underside of the lid for humidity. $6 filthy find stashed out of reach on a top shelf of some store called The Wok Shop. Lady said the pot has been there like 20 years. It did have some unidentifiable ‘dust’ objects inside it. shrugs

At a no-name odds and ends store I bought a smaller double-lidded ceramic crock for $5 to keep a broken up shou cake. My final purchase today was $5 worth of osmanthus flowers from some ginseng shop. I’m excited to finally try osmanthus by itself! Awesome, cheap finds today and I didn’t buy any actual tea :)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

Good thrifting!

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Mastress Alita

Good thrifting!

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Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy — message me if you want to try something! I send international :)

Most enjoyment:

Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, sheng puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, GABA oolong. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes.

I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog, matcha latte and golden milk.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings, just nothing cloying. And no added sugars, sweeteners, candy or chocolate.

I abandoned both my preference reference and the recording of detailed steeping parameters in January 2020, favoring a focus on qualitative descriptions. At this point, I am still comfortable toggling the “Not/Recommended” button.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be daily drinker teas.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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