Prepared in a glass gaiwan, this is all spicy pastoral. Animalic muskiness that’s not contained within a barnyard, rolling dry pastures, parchment, sun-warmed earth and a soft savory quality reminiscent of tempered hing (which smells like sweated onions to me) and fresh mushrooms or aquafaba. These all present within a silky, unctuous mouthfeel that gives way to mouthwatering quartz-like minerality before finishing with an astringency that is most noticeable after the first few infusions.

There are delicate white rose and maybe geranium florals; fruity nuances such as apricot and papaya and tiny sparkles of muscatel; a quiet caramel note; white pepper, orange blossom, sugared lemon, rose leaf and wintergreen aromatics that elevate this tea from one that could be overly rustic into a tea that is rather refined. I’m sure there’s more.

The feeling is drying-warming, also masculine in a way that only a white tea could be. I wish I had more to play with — Nepali teas, while often exceedingly beautiful, can require some attention to avoid astringency.

Quite the difference between western steeping and gongfu. Western presents still with those spicy warm straw and earth tones, sweeter and even a little chewy honey-malt, not animalic or savory, while the fruit is more pronounced, sitting in the midtones and reaching higher into the olfactories. A distinct watermelon note comes out on the backend.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Beans, Caramel, Drying, Dust, Earth, Floral, Geranium, Honey, Hot Hay, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Mushrooms, Musk, Oily, Onion, Orange Blossom, Papaya, Paper, Peppercorn, Rose, Savory, Silky, Soft, Spices, Spicy, Spring Water, Straw, Sugar, Watermelon, White Grapes, Wintergreen

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 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.” 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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