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As part of Mastress Alita’s Monthly Sipdown Challenge, April 2022, I present to thee “A Tea Paired to the Weather.”

This dancong oolong is the memory of spring snowmelt, with the crisp air still perfumed by the fanfare of yesterday’s blooming jasmine and lilies and other flowers now reduced by last night’s cold snap. A bit of soggy earth underfoot, wading through a stand of fanned-out horsetails.

Damp yet drying, cool and airy yet somehow richly floral, slightly alkaline with a silica-mineral backbone. A bit viscous and oily at first, thinning into an astringency that develops at a manageable pace. Good ripe peach aftertaste presents soon after swallow and fades as the flowers return from the throat.

A low-oxidized oolong still with this intensity despite being over 6 years old suggests to me that it has been well stored by the proprietor. This level of florality isn’t my favorite. (Neither is the price tag.) I like more of an active fruity taste, rather than in the aftertaste, to provide balance. It’s been a nice tea to sip on spring Saturday mornings before the sun provides its warm salutations.

Flavors: Alkaline, Astringent, Cream, Floral, Grass, Grassy, Jasmine, Lilac, Lily, Mineral, Oily, Peach, Sugar, Vanilla, Viscous, Wet Earth

gmathis

A description like that makes me want to sit next to you and wait for the sun to shine :)

Leafhopper

Sounds like a good one! :)

derk

It’s nice but I would be afraid to send you a sample since it’s 6 years old and green. Did I send to you?

Leafhopper

I don’t think so. It seems to have held up well for a six-year-old tea.

derk

Best as bowl tea on a quiet morning.

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Comments

gmathis

A description like that makes me want to sit next to you and wait for the sun to shine :)

Leafhopper

Sounds like a good one! :)

derk

It’s nice but I would be afraid to send you a sample since it’s 6 years old and green. Did I send to you?

Leafhopper

I don’t think so. It seems to have held up well for a six-year-old tea.

derk

Best as bowl tea on a quiet morning.

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Bio

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.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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