Thank you to Gabriele and nannuoshan for this sample!

I left it to my husband to pick our tea for the night and this was the one he enjoyed the most when he opened each to smell. He’s been wanting to try this type of tea for a while now, ever since he had a conversation with a friend at work about monkey-picked oolong. I didn’t know at the time that monkey-picked oolong is another name for Tie Guan Yin, not until I started asking around here on Steepster. I was happy that nannuoshan had this tea to sample and even happier still that my husband picked this one from the batch without even realizing what it was. I really hope he likes it.

The leaves are brown and came tumbling out of the bag in clusters to hit the inside of my gaiwan with a bright, tinkling sound. Each is a different shape – no two seem alike. Some look like tiny parcels, others like flower bulb shoots. A few have opened more fully, as if they’re stretching upward toward the blue. The color is dark – black and tan and a bit of green.

After rinsing the leaves, this incredible aroma floats out of the cup. I could be wrong about this, but it seems like the perfect cup to wake up to in the morning. The fragrance is roasted and almost sweet. For some reason, I think of oolong as a darker tea (like a step down from black tea), but I must be wrong because this is very light in color. The flavor is outstanding – it tastes just as it smells. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is. It may be bread. It may be brown sugar. My husband even said he tasted something like roses.

We steeped this four times and finally decided it was time for bed. Not wanting to waste any remaining flavor, I put the leaves in the fridge with two cups of water for a cold brew and left it for almost a full 24 hours. The color is very pale, almost golden. I expected it to be lighter since I’ve already steeped it a few times, but it’s even paler than I thought. The leaves have unrolled, but instead of being silky like I expected they look as crunchy as a piece of fresh kale. Lightly sweetened, this is very enjoyable and certainly isn’t lacking in flavor.

I’m enjoying each of my samples from nannuoshan better than the last – this one is my favorite so far!

Infusions
4 ounces water + 212 degrees + 60 sec each
16 ounces water + iced + approx. 24 hours

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bio

Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring herbalist, excessively proud cat lady, and tea fanatic. She/her.

I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of green or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy.

I’m open to tea swaps and/or just sharing what’s in my tea cabinet! Please reach out if you see something I have that you’d like to try. I do my best to update my cupboard regularly.

It will take me longer than usual to get to the post office while we’re in the midst of this pandemic, but I would still love to send you something next time I’m out and about!

Favorites
Any and all black teas, smoky teas, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, bergamot, chai spices, cinnamon, cream, floral teas, caramel/toffee, jasmine, rose, vanilla, stone fruits, coconut, valerian root

Not a fan
Lime, white teas (someone tell me what I’m doing wrong with these!), most green teas, artificial sweeteners, sarsaparilla, licorice

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

41-70: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

71-79: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

80-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.

Currently reading:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes
by Diana Gabaldon

Me and White Supremacy
by Layla F. Saad

So You Want to Talk About Race
by Ijeoma Oluo

Updated July 2020.

Location

Alabaster, Alabama

Website

https://www.facebook.com/spharo

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