It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve temporarily switched residence. My new tea station is at the kitchen table (as opposed to my bedroom/teacave) and I’m living with 2 people, so I’m drinking tea more socially than at home. Neither of them appreciates tea, though, beyond the odd teabag. I’ve offered but you know. Anyway, I haven’t been focusing on the tea too much since I’m usually chatting.

Overall impression of this Alishan — holy creamy, pungent bulb flowers and grass, later peach gummi rings. Very forward. Body vacillates between full and thin, possibly as a result of the leaves not having enough room to fully and evenly expand in the pot. Some minerality. Steeps forever. Acidity like green apple comes out in late steeps, along with rough astringency. With my first go at this tea, I was unable to brew it out so the leaves went into a jar in the fridge for cold-brew. Really pleasant result there.

I received this tea in place of something else I ordered. I neglected to rectify the situation out of pure laziness. Not unhappy with the accidental swap but it’s also not something I’d go out of my way to order. While I like puerh and black tea with forward personalities, I favor nuance in Taiwanese oolong.

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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.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. 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. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

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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