1026 Tasting Notes

90

This was another of the spring 2017 Wuyi oolongs that I aged until late 2021 before trying. It was also a tea that I dreaded trying, because, for whatever reason, I still have trouble with Rou Gui. I appreciate it much more now than I did in the past, but Rou Gui is still a tea for which I have difficulty psyching myself up. If I’m going to go for a more common Wuyi oolong, it’s almost always going to be a Shui Xian or an economy grade Da Hong Pao. Also, when it comes to Rou Gui, I tend to be more into the lighter roasted or specialty variants, so the idea of cracking open a 50g pouch of a classic roast Rou Gui was not the most appealing to me. I resolved to simply get through what I had of this tea, but to my surprise and utter delight, this ended up being an excellent offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, prune, raisin, cinnamon, black raspberry, and blackberry. After the rinse, new aromas of plum, roasted almond, and roasted peanut emerged alongside subtler scents of dark chocolate and smoke. The first infusion added a mulberry aroma as well as subtle scents of tobacco and earth. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, tobacco, earth, baked bread, roasted almond, prune, raisin, and dark chocolate that were balanced by hints of roasted barley, smoke, roasted peanut, honey, mulberry, and pear. The majority of the following infusions added aromas of minerals, roasted barley, and orange zest to the tea’s bouquet, though I also noticed an increased earthiness on the nose. Stronger and more immediately evident impressions of roasted peanut, smoke, mulberry, and pear emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, rock sugar, caramel, orange zest, peach, black raspberry, and cream. Hints of plum, blackberry, red apple, grass, and toasted rice were present as well. As the tea faded, the liquor started emphasizing notes of minerals, baked bread, cream, roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and orange zest that were chased by hints of grass, toasted rice, roasted barley, honey, pear, earth, and rock sugar.

This was such a satisfying tea for me because it managed to retain a great deal of the classic earthy, nutty, and spicy characteristics I have come to expect of teas produced from the Rou Gui cultivar, but in its pronounced earthiness, breadiness, and rich dark fruit presence, I could tell that it was starting to show off some of the characteristics teas like this tend to acquire with some age. Though this was neither the most unique nor the most refined Rou Gui I have ever tried, it was a wonderfully durable, aromatic, flavorful, and balanced tea with more than enough complexity to satisfy. Overall, this tea was a treat and struck me as being an absolute steal at its price point.

Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Bread, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Prune, Raisins, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Sugar, Toasted Rice, Tobacco

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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78

Okay, I know that I have made a point of posting a ton of backlogged reviews from 2020 and the first part of 2021 for the last several months, but I want to change tracks for a little bit and start posting some of my more recent reviews. Back in the spring of 2017, I purchased a ton of Wuyi oolongs from Yunnan Sourcing and several other vendors, and when it became obvious that I would not be able to get to most of them in a timely manner, I simply decided to hold on to them and try to age them at my house. I finally started sampling them late in 2021, and largely thrilled with the results I got, decided to prioritize posting reviews of some of these teas in the new year. This was the first of the bunch that I tried. Quite frankly, it was not the best of them, but it was still a likable tea that had held up surprisingly well in storage.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of pear, cedar, tobacco, baked bread, smoke, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of grass, black cherry, and roasted peanut. The first infusion added aromas of red grape, blueberry, roasted almond, and coffee. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of butter, coffee, blueberry, grass, cream, red grape, baked bread, and caramel that were balanced by hints of pear, tobacco, cedar, roasted almond, smoke, black cherry, and plum. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of caramel, butter, cream, plum, orange zest, and toasted grains that were supported by a subtle scent of dark chocolate. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of pear, black cherry, plum, smoke, roasted almond, and tobacco appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, fig, orange zest, roasted peanut, and toasted grains. I also found hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, dark chocolate, blackberry, green olive, and golden apple. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, butter, toasted grains, orange zest, roasted almond, baked bread, and grass that were chased by lingering hints of cedar, red grape, cream, pear, tobacco, black cherry, and blackberry.

Prior to trying this tea, I had never tried a light roast Tie Luo Han, so this tea represented a wholly new experience for me. I was a little surprised that it had retained so much of its complexity over 4+ years of storage and was delighted to discover that some of the spicy, herbal qualities typical of the Tie Luo Han cultivar were still present in this tea. That being said, this tea produced something of a thin, watery liquor and a very front-loaded experience in a gongfu session. In truth, I probably got to it at least a year later than I really should have. Still, this was a pretty good, solid tea even without its full vibrancy and longevity

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Coffee, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fig, Grain, Grapes, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Olives, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Smoke, Tobacco

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
MadHatterTeaReview

I love the teas that are layered and complex! Great review!

eastkyteaguy

Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks.

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98

Okay, time to get another oldie out of the way. This was one of my sipdowns from the summer of 2020. To this day, it remains one of the best senchas I have ever had.

I made use of a multi-step Western preparation method for this tea. I started off by steeping approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 fluid ounces of 149 F water for 1 minute. Four additional infusions followed. I varied the steep time for each infusion, cutting back to 30 seconds for the second infusion, then 45 seconds for the third infusion, 1 minute 30 seconds for the fourth infusion, and then a full 3 minutes for the fifth and final infusion. I also increased the water temperature by 5 degrees for each of the subsequent infusions, so I went from 154 F on the second infusion to 169 F on the final infusion.

Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves produced lovely aromas of spinach, grass, baked bread, honey, zucchini, and asparagus. After infusion, the tea liquor offered up novel aromas of lettuce, kale, chestnut, and seaweed. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of snow pea, honey, lettuce, grass, cream, butter, chestnut, zucchini, and light vegetable broth balanced by subtler impressions of pear, green apple, lemon zest, asparagus, seaweed, baked bread, and orange zest. The second infusion introduced aromas of cream, butter, and toasted sweet corn in addition to subtler aromas of snow peas and hazelnut. A fine minerality emerged in the mouth while stronger and somewhat more immediately evident notes of lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus appeared. I also detected subtle impressions of toasted sweet corn, straw, hazelnut, kale, and bamboo. The third infusion saw the nose turn very fine and light, with a ghostly mineral presence appearing. Even stronger and more dominant lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus notes were evident in the mouth, though this time they were balanced by amplified bamboo and toasted sweet corn flavors. A slightly stronger baked bread note also appeared along with hints of spearmint, sugarcane, coriander, and marshmallow. The fourth infusion saw the mineral presence on the nose strengthen and take on something of a marine quality reminiscent of sea salt or sea spray. More of a vegetable broth presence emerged on the palate with pronounced mineral, sugarcane, lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus notes. Slightly stronger impressions of spearmint, coriander, and marshmallow were also present, and fresh hints of sea salt and moss appeared as well. The fifth and final infusion did not offer much in terms of aroma. The tea’s bouquet was mild and heavy on mineral character with traces of toasted sweet corn and grass remaining. The tea liquor had washed out greatly at this point, though very subtle citrus zest, asparagus, chestnut, lettuce, grass, spinach, kale, spearmint, coriander, moss, sea salt, cream, and butter hints could still be detected under a bed of soft minerality.

This was an absolutely fantastic sencha. The tea liquor it produced was vibrant, gorgeously textured, incredibly complex, and almost unbelievably refined. I loved the way the tea evolved over the course of my review session. Each infusion offered something unique and different on the nose and in the mouth. Fortunately, What-Cha still stocks this tea. Make a point of trying it if you have yet to get around to it.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Bread, Broth, Butter, Chestnut, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Hazelnut, Honey, Kale, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Marshmallow, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Pear, Salt, Seaweed, Snow Peas, Spearmint, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Zucchini

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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77

Well, how’s it going everyone? Me, I am so far behind. I had planned on getting through two full review notebooks before the end of the year, and that is not happening. I’ve been extremely busy this month and have not been able to motivate myself to spend much time on Steepster when I’ve had free time. I was hoping to pop back on here and get at least two or three reviews posted today, but it is looking like I’ll be fortunate to get this one wrapped up before I have to get back to work.

This was one of my more recent sipdowns, coming from around late October or early November. This was likely the last Japanese green tea of the year for me. I think it was the only one I had left in my collection at the time I finished my pouch of it. It was also a tea that I found to be a bit difficult to rate. It was not bad, but it did not offer the most consistent drinking experience from cup to cup or session to session.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I started off by steeping approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 fluid ounces of 158 F water for 1 minute. Four additional infusions followed. The second infusion lasted 30 seconds and was done with 163 F water. The third infusion made use of 168 F water and lasted 45 seconds. The fourth infusion lasted 1 minute 30 seconds and was done with 173 F water. The fifth and final infusion lasted 3 minutes and was done with 178 F water. Just to be clear, all infusions made use of 8 fluid ounces of water.

Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, grass, peas, butter, and seaweed. After infusion, I detected new aromas of minerals, zucchini, summer squash, and asparagus. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, asparagus, butter, baked bread, balsam, grass, zucchini, peas, and summer squash that were balanced by subtler impressions of marshmallow, seaweed, hay, lemon, and honey. The second infusion brought out a clearer and stronger asparagus aroma alongside scents of cream and parsley. A slight earthiness emerged in the mouth with a somewhat stronger seaweed presence, a clear parsley note, and hints of minerals, green wood, straw, lettuce, chestnut, sugarcane, and green apple. The third infusion saw the tea’s bouquet bizarrely die away, while stronger mineral, lettuce, and green apple notes made themselves known in the mouth. The fourth infusion did not offer up much at all in terms of aroma, though surprisingly strong butter, grass, sugarcane, and honey notes emerged in the mouth with hints of vanilla and carrot in tow. The final infusion again did not offer much on the nose. The tea liquor lightened and softened, becoming very creamy and subtly vegetal with pronounced butter notes, a faint sweetness, and a heavier mineral presence.

Ehh, this was not a terrible sencha, but it was also somewhat disappointing for me. I loved what the first two infusions brought to the table, but the final three left a lot to be desired. Compared to some of the other Obubu senchas I have tried, this was a more rustic and less refined offering, and it sadly lacked the staying power of some of their finest teas. Still, it was far from terrible and was worth trying for what the first couple of infusions had to offer. For now, I’m going to classify this tea as something I’m glad I tried but probably will not be in any rush to have again.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bread, Butter, Carrot, Chestnut, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Apple, Green Wood, Hay, Honey, Lemon, Lettuce, Marshmallow, Mineral, Parsley, Peas, Seaweed, Squash, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Zucchini

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
CrowKettle

Aww, glad you’re ok if busy!

Don’t think I’ve ever had an Autumn Obubu Sencha. Interesting, but sounds like I’d want a small amount only :P

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80

This will be my final review of the day unless plans change. I’m dipping into my vast backlog again with this one. The first of the 2018 and 2019 Old Ways Tea samples I polished off during my sample drinking spree that started in late 2020, this one definitely comes from last year. I knew this was basically intended to be treated as a value offering by the folks at Old Ways Tea, but I was surprised to discover that it was actually a very good, solid Wuyi black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of orchid, nectarine, blood orange, tangerine, cinnamon, and pine. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut that were accompanied by subtler scents of smoke and nutmeg. The first infusion then added a cherry aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, cherry, tangerine, blood orange, roasted almond, grass, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of cinnamon, pear, nectarine, and pomegranate. The majority of the subsequent infusions added grass, mineral, red grape, hay, violet, and a stronger nutmeg scent to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of pear, pomegranate, and nectarine emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, cream, malt, orange zest, baked bread, peach, plum, red grape, nutmeg, and violet. I also detected hints of smoke, hay, and pine here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, roasted almond, malt, orange zest, tangerine, and cherry that were chased by lingering hints of red grape, plum, baked bread, orchid, blood orange, pomegranate, roasted peanut, and violet.

This tea displayed a wonderful mix of aromas and flavors, but it was not as refined or as balanced as it could have been. It had everything that would have made it an absolute knockout of an offering otherwise. As is, it was not even remotely close to being a bad offering, but I felt that it could have been much better than it was and represented something of a missed opportunity overall.

Flavors: Almond, Blood Orange, Bread, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Grapes, Grass, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Nectarine, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Pomegranate, Smoke, Tangerine, Violet

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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91

Okay, time for another review of a late 2020 sipdown. I think this one comes from late 2020 at least. I can’t really be sure. I blew through a bunch of samples from Old Ways Tea late last year and early this year, and this was the second that I finished, so I’m guessing I drank it in 2020. Whatever the case may be, I found it to be a great Wuyi black tea. It was subtler than anticipated, but it also had a ton of appeal.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, cinnamon, cedar, and blackberry. After the rinse, I detected novel aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and cream as well as a subtle scent of hay. The first infusion saw the hay scent strengthen somewhat while aromas of grass, lemon zest, and pine also appeared. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, malt, cream, butter, grass, hay, cedar, pine, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of cinnamon, roasted peanut, and lemon zest. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of butter, cherry, daisy, sunflower, and orange zest to the tea’s bouquet, though I also occasionally noted subtler scents that reminded me a bit of coriander and blueberry. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of cinnamon, lemon zest, and roasted peanut emerged in the mouth along with mineral, blackberry, steamed milk, sweet potato, orange zest, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, and nutmeg impressions. There were also some subtle touches of cherry, allspice, blueberry, and coriander that popped up here and there along with some vague floral notes that reminded me a bit of a combination of daisy, sunflower, and dandelion. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, orange zest, roasted almond, malt, butter, cream, grass, and lemon zest that were chased by fleeting, ghostly hints of pine, cinnamon, roasted peanut, cedar, pumpkin seed, hay, coriander, and flowers.

Plopped in my desk chair typing out this review made me think back to jotting down my impressions of this tea while I sampled it. I was stunned to discover that I recalled drinking it very vividly. This tea struck me as being so unique that the memory of trying it for the first time is now etched into my brain. Even before I sat back down to write this review, I glanced down at my notes and thought, “Oh yeah, that’s the one that tasted like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.” Fortunately, this tea offered more than just an extremely novel drinking experience. It was also an incredibly deep, complex, tasty, balanced, and sophisticated offering. If you don’t mind a tea that offers a bit of a challenge, Jin Guazi would be for you. It takes a little time to get into, but it’s so worth it.

Flavors: Allspice, Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Hay, Lemon Zest, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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67

This was another of my late 2020 sipdowns and a tea that was wholly new to me at the time. I’m still a little perplexed by the name. If my understanding is correct, a high mountain Wu Yi tea may actually be produced at a lower elevation than some of the flatland teas from Yunnan Province and elsewhere. I guess then that this would qualify as a high mountain tea with regard to where it was produced. Anyway, this was an interesting black tea with a unique profile, but it flattened out and faded very quickly.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of dark chocolate, cinnamon, pine, and baked bread. After the rinse, aromas of malt, roasted peanut, butter, and sweet potato emerged. The first infusion introduced aromas of honey, brown sugar, spinach, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of dark chocolate, grass, malt, baked bread, butter, coffee, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of honey, sweet potato, brown sugar, and spinach. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of coffee, minerals, roasted almond, roasted walnut, and sugarcane. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of brown sugar, honey, and sweet potato emerged in the mouth alongside notes of roasted almond, roasted walnut, minerals, and black cherry. Hints of cinnamon, earth, pine, red grape, orange zest, marshmallow, and sugarcane were also present. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, butter, malt, grass, baked bread, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of roasted peanut, honey, dark chocolate, orange zest, sweet potato, and sugarcane.

As mentioned earlier, this was a unique black tea. Not only were some of its components fairly unique for a Wuyi black tea, but some of the more familiar ones were expressed in ways I would not normally have expected. That novelty factor alone would have made this tea enjoyable enough for me, but fortunately, it also struck me as being very approachable and drinkable. It was not fussy or stuffy in the slightest, and in my time sampling it, I tried multiple other preparation methods with solid, consistent results. Still, this tea was not without its flaws. As previously mentioned it faded very quickly. At times, some of the tea’s more unique aroma and flavor components also subtly clashed with some of the more familiar ones. Overall, this was a decent enough tea. It had its appeal, and it did make me curious about the possibility of trying some other Tu Cha in the future. I feel like I am being a tad hard on it, but a score in the high 60s just feels right to me. I wish I could rate it higher, but I just can’t do it.

Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grapes, Grass, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Well, I’m back after a long absence. I did not exactly mean to take a three week break from posting reviews, but it just kind of happened anyway. A lot has changed on my end in a very short time. I have two new jobs. I don’t know how I feel about them yet. For those wondering, I did not get the academic library job I applied for several months back. After getting strong feedback after my interview, it turns out my references were never checked, meaning I was never seriously being considered for the position in the first place. Then I got offered a position with the state after an interview that I thought went terribly. The pay isn’t great, but the benefits are solid. I also ended up getting offered a part-time side gig at the local Wal-Mart that bizarrely pays almost as much as my state job. I literally only make $0.58 more per hour with the state. My manager at Wal-Mart, however, is the mother of an old friend and thinks I would make a wonderful manager or corporate trainer and wants me to work for her part-time until something full-time opens up or a corporate/management position opens for which she can push me. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I needed an alternative. I’m way too old to be putting all of my eggs in one basket in terms of a career, and I need something I can do while I go back to school in my mid-late thirties that not only allows me to support myself but allows me to live pretty well. I’m not sure how I feel about the state position yet (I’m supposed to be able to work from home after I finish training), so having another option is great for me. Getting back on track now, this was one of my sipdowns from late 2020 (maybe around October or November). I found it to be a strong competition grade Jin Jun Mei.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of honey, malt, marshmallow, cinnamon, baked bread, and molasses. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and sugarcane. The first infusion added aromas of chocolate, brown sugar, and sweet potato. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of malt, marshmallow, roasted almond, sweet potato, baked bread, honey, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. The subsequent infusions added aromas of pine, orange zest, and cream as well as subtler scents of vanilla, lemon zest, and black pepper. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of chocolate emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, cream, pine, roasted peanut, orange zest, lemon zest, and caramel. Hints of cinnamon, red grape, red apple, pear, plum, black pepper, leather, and vanilla were present as well. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, malt, cream, caramel, baked bread, roasted almond, pine, orange zest, honey, and chocolate that were chased by hints of sugarcane, marshmallow, roasted peanut, sweet potato, lemon zest, leather, red grape, and vanilla.

Something of a typical higher end Jin Jun Mei, this tea delivered exactly what it was expected to deliver and nothing more. That statement, however, is not intended as a slight. This was a complex tea that was approachable, pleasant, and drinkable despite its complexity, and it displayed admirable longevity in a fairly lengthy gong fu session. Though I have had several Jin Jun Mei that offered more novel aroma and flavor components or had a livelier, firmer texture in the mouth, this was still a well-executed classic take on the style that was sophisticated and loaded with subtle appeal.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Grapes, Honey, Leather, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Martin Bednář

I am happy for you that you work! For me, I wasn’t sure about my job too. But found out that combination of easy-going environment, friendly co-workers, less hours than usual, non-hectic (often) stuff, it means more than higher wage. I am about to end the probation period soon as well and than will mean a raise. At least they have promised.

So, good luck in both jobs, I am sure you will do great and you will find out which is better to you.

Courtney

Good luck in these new adventures! It’s tough out there right now, but I have so much respect for you going to school and making it work!

derk

Congrats, guy. Happy to see you pushing forward! Good things to come.

mrmopar

Congrats, I knew good things would come your way.

Evol Ving Ness

Congrats, guy! Seems like a plan!

CrowKettle

Congratulations! :)

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97

This was another of my sipdowns from early in the current year. I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this tea when I set out to work my way through what I had of it. I was not all that familiar with Xiong Di Zai (I’m still not), and I had been a bit perplexed by the spring 2017 version of this offering when I tried it around two years prior. I was expecting a challenging, complex tea that offered hit or miss drinking experiences, but I didn’t get that. I found this to be a very pleasant, soothing tea, one that was far smoother and more approachable than anticipated.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a standard 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of roasted almond, plum, pomegranate, vanilla, and nutmeg that were underscored by a much fainter baked bread scent. After the rinse, I discovered new aromas of grass, cannabis, candied orange, and orchid. The first infusion then introduced aromas of violet, wood, and sugarcane. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of grass, cream, roasted almond, orchid, candied orange, pomegranate, violet, and wood that were chased by hints of sugarcane, cherry, baked bread, vanilla, nutmeg, butter, peach, plum, and cannabis. The majority of the subsequent infusions gradually added aromas of peach, nectarine, butter, steamed milk, butterscotch, pear, coriander, white grape, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of butter, cherry, sugarcane, and peach came out in the mouth alongside mineral, orange zest, pear, earth, steamed milk, white grape, coriander, lemon zest, and green apple impressions. I also found hints of cinnamon, nectarine, spinach, and butterscotch. As the tea faded, the liquor continued emphasizing notes of minerals, grass, wood, cream, steamed milk, lemon zest, roasted almond, green apple, pear, and white grape that were deftly balanced by lingering hints of coriander, orange zest, peach, baked bread, spinach, cherry, sugarcane, butterscotch, and vanilla.

This tea should not have worked in theory. It produced a tea liquor that was very buttery, creamy, and milky but also full of tart, acidic fruit notes and pronounced earthy, woody, and vegetal qualities. Somehow everything worked well together and never clashed. That was a marvel considering that the tea’s sweet floral qualities faded quickly. I was expecting this to be one of those teas that wowed me with how well it integrated seemingly sharply contrasting elements before steadily coming unglued, but that never happened. Even as the middle infusions added what should have been increasingly incompatible aroma and flavor components, the tea remained pleasant and balanced. Also, while many Dancongs can turn sharp, slick, and soapy, this one remained smooth, thick, and creamy throughout my time with it. Overall, this was a truly impressive tea. I wish I had gotten around to trying it sooner.

Flavors: Almond, Bread, Butter, Butterscotch, Candy, Cannabis, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Apple, Lemon Zest, Milk, Mineral, Nectarine, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Pomegranate, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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77

Time to shake off the weekend laziness and get a few more reviews posted from my backlog. This was the last review I logged in my 2020-2021 notebook. I’m almost finished with that one. Then I only have three more notebooks to get through plus the one I’m steadily filling now. My plan is to hit this one hard and finish it and the 2018 notebook up before the end of the month. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, this was one of my sipdowns from early in the year. I basically found it to be a gentle, unfussy black tea. It was nice, but it wasn’t exactly a favorite.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minutes 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of baked bread, earth, smoke, malt, raisin, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, fresh aromas of sugarcane, roasted almond, butter, and roasted peanut emerged. The first infusion introduced a definite brown sugar aroma that was underscored by subtler scents of pine, eucalyptus, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up smooth notes of cream, baked bread, malt, butter, cooked green beans, roasted almond, and dark chocolate that were chased by hints of raisin, earth, roasted peanut, smoke, and sugarcane. The majority of the subsequent infusions brought out aromas of black pepper, cream, vanilla, roasted walnut, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of earth, roasted peanut, raisin, and sugarcane appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of orange zest, minerals, brown sugar, roasted walnut, roasted chestnut, grass, and sweet potato. I also noted hints of vanilla, pine, eucalyptus, black pepper, leather, plum, red apple, and marshmallow. As the tea faded, the liquor continued emphasizing impressions of minerals, cream, butter, roasted almond, roasted walnut, baked bread, brown sugar, and orange zest that were backed up by a mellow melange of grass, sweet potato, vanilla, raisin, cooked green bean, earth, roasted chestnut, and sugarcane hints.

This tea displayed a lot of depth and complexity, and it was very smooth and pleasant in the mouth. At the same time, it was not tremendously captivating due to something of a lack of liveliness and a lack of one or more standout components. While there was nothing wrong with it, there was not anything about this tea that was truly memorable in its own right. I came away wanting to like it more than I did. In some ways, this tea was similar to the Man Gang Village and Yi Wu Mountain black teas that were also offered by Yunnan Sourcing, but I thought it was a little better and more consistent overall.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

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