Gong Fu Sipdown (650)!

Apr Tea was kind enough to send me a whole bunch of samples in exchange for reviews, and they showed up yesterday so I’m breaking into the first sample today and steeping that up. I just randomly picked which to start with, and this is the one I selected. It’s a good pick though; I’ve been craving a really good oolong all week.

I’m just going to do this review stream of consciousness style, so jot notes for each infusion. However, since I was specifically asked to review these teas in exchange for the samples I will be tracking how many infusions I do/writing jot notes for each specific infusion. That’s something I’ve been moving away from in more recent Gong Fu sessions/I’ve been following a more casual and laid back approach without heavily taking notes – so my compromise for this is that I’m not going to heavily monitor the steep time for each infusion; for that element of the session I’ll be following my “let my gut direct me” approach since that’s been working so well for me.

So, let’s get started shall we!

Infusion One
- Sweet and slightly roasty overall
- STRONGLY and distinctly tasted like lightly roasted peanuts
- More flavourful than expected from a first infusion

Infusion Two
- Still very nutty/peanut flavour with a bit of general roast/typical roasty oolong flavour
- Floral elements creeping into the background/undertones but in a really light way
- A greener, slightly sour finishing note

Infusion Three
- Decrease in overall nuttiness and increase in floral characterics; more of a 50/50 spread
- Still smelled heavenly in a nutty/peanut way when steeping through
- Feels greener overall with more grassy and chlorine sort of undertones
- Sour aftertaste; but a clean one that doesn’t linger

Infusion Four
- Beautiful peanut qualities have been relegated to only light whispers/undertones
- And a general floral overall profile; kind of a lily and lilac thing
- A mix of fresh/light florals & perfumey/heady ones like jasmine (without being jasmine)

Infusion Five
- Leaves in gaiwan appear about ‘half’ opened up
- Aroma is greener, with nutty undertones still to it
- Peanut notes interact in the same way as the last infusion in terms of flavour
- Finish is more lingering now – tastes almost metallic while also tasting very green

Infusion Six
- Same as above infusion

Infusion Seven
- Let this infusion cool down quite a lot prior to drinking; distracted by Instagram
- Feels like we’re circling back to more of a full bodied and sweet peanut flavour
- With sweet floral undertones, and less green finishing notes

Infusion Eight
- Nope; I think that sudden surge of peanut notes was a fluke ‘cause we’re back to floral
- Noticeably weaker/lighter

Infusion Nine
- Same, but just lighter in flavour
- Ending the session here; I’ve got a lot more teas set aside for the day to move on to

Thanks again Apr Tea for the samples! This is one of the nuttiest Tieguanyins that I think I’ve ever had; I’m sure that means it’ll be a super memorable one. I look forward to trying everything else too, though!

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Hello! My name is Kelly, though many people in the tea community call me Ros or Roswell.

I am a mid-twenties tea addict, blogger, and all around nerd. I grew up in the Prairies, but a few years ago I relocated to Quebec to pursue a career with DAVIDsTEA in the tea industry! I’m still working on getting my French language skills down…

My first introduction to tea, in any form outside of instant and bottled iced tea, was about seven years ago when I happened to stumble upon DAVIDsTEA while looking for a birthday present for a friend! I tried their Birthday Cake rooibos blend, and I’ve been hooked on tea ever since! In those seven years; I was introduced to the online tea community, expanded my interest in flavoured teas to include a deep love and appreciation for straight teas and traditional brewing methods, got a tea themed tattoo, started reviewing teas, amassed a sizable tea and teaware collection, became a TAC certified Tea Sommelier, & even came full circle by beginning a career in the tea industry with DAVIDsTEA!

I consider myself a Jack of all Teas, and strive to have a knowledge and appreciation of all tea types, formats, and styles of drinking. I don’t like to feel boxed in to just being a “flavoured tea” or “straight tea” drinker – my expectations may vary depending on the type of tea or how it’s been processed/prepared but if it’s good tea, it’s good tea no matter how it’s been made!

You name it, I probably drink it- and I’ll absolutely try anything at least once.

My default method of preparation is hot, Western style, and straight – but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea or use a different method of preparation I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gongfu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

I’m also one half of the “tea and fandom” podcast GeekSteep where, weekly, we discuss newly explored fandoms over tea as well as try to figure out the perfect tea to pair with each fandom. You can find us on Spotify and Apple & Google podcasts.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, hazelnut or walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strongly spiced profiles (and most Chai in general), mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, stevia, saltiness or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Please contact me at the instagram account listed below if you would like me to review your teas.

Currently I’m employed in the tea department of the DAVIDsTEA head office. While I’m still sharing my own personal thoughts on new & existing DAVIDsTEA blends, I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any comments expressed are a reflection of my own thoughts and opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company. Any DAVIDsTEA blends you currently see with a numeric score were reviewed prior to my being hired there and have not been adjusted since becoming a DAVIDsTEA employee.


Montreal, QC, CA



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