It’s taken nearly a year, but I think my little purple clay teapot is finally starting to give back flavor. And that presents a real dilemma sometimes when it comes to rating teas. This was one of those situations where the gaiwan and clay teapot resulted in two very different tasting teas.

The dry leaves are large and dark green with a green apple and orchid aroma. When wet, they emit fruity cucumber-melon and vegetal, slightly herbaceous aromas. The tea starts off fruity, some green apple sourness initially along with little floral hints in the background. This is where the gaiwan brewed tea stops and the other begins. In the tea brewed in clay, the depth of flavor is far greater. I detected notes of narcissus, hyacinth, egg custard, and pineapple in the finish. As it continues steeping, it gains thickness in the body and develops a sweet floral-fruity flavor. There’s a slight funk in the smell of the steeped leaves that thankfully doesn’t make it into the tea.

The main difference that I can tell between the porcelain and clay brewed teas seems to be the clay teapot did a good job of minimizing the sourness that cropped up here and there and amplified the flowery notes. The gaiwan brewed tea was a good, serviceable gao shan but nothing memorable and far from the better Li Shans I’ve had such as the recent one from What-Cha.

Flavors: Custard, Flowers, Green Apple, Melon, Narcissus, Sour

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky


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