Sipping on this in between classes and on my second steep now.

Like the Tealeaves’ Chamomile Blossom I had recently, this sachet is filled to the seam with whole black tea leaves and blue cornflower accents. The first steep was amazing for a bagged black. Soothing black tea fragrance, not sharp at all. The brew was full, round and kind of thick. It was deep and malty, somewhat chocolatey, with a citrusy brightness and a wine-like base that I guess was from the Keemun. A little bit of spicy bite, too, like one would expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon. Clean finish.

This second steep of 5 minutes is so far good. It’s oily and tastes more like a typical black tea bag and leaves a little bit of mineral impression.

Really nice bagged black.

Flavors: Chocolate, Citrusy, Malt, Mineral, Red Wine, Round, Spicy

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most. Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently.

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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