Steeped this western-style at work today – an indulgence,as I usually try to do my “good” teas at home, where I can gong fu, but I needed the boost. I also added a pinch of the schisandra blend, which really turns up the volume on the flavor. This is not my usual morning tea at all, but I’m finding it very vibrant and quenching today. Flavor notes are sour, sweet/floral like a green oolong, and a little umami; there’s a very full and creamy mouth-feel. I find myself enjoying the flavor for several breaths after sipping. On to my second steep already!

2tsp oolong, 1/4tsp schisandra, 8oz water

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA


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