I had an absolutely lovely gong fu session with Dinosara this afternoon- my first gong fu experience ever! We began with this tea, since she had been raving about it so much, and I found the normal spring picking so lackluster. We used our aroma cup sets from Tea Ave throughout.
She started with a short rinse, then a first steep of 5 seconds, adding 5 seconds to each subsequent steep.
First steep: I got the impression of flower pollen on this one, with a vague sweetness and creaminess.
Second steep: Sweeter, with the sweetness starting to stick on my tongue like a good oolong should. The flavor is more like the petals of fruit trees, but still diffuse.
Third steep: This is the first steep that the aroma cup really contributed to- lilacs! A full nose of lilacs! The flavor overall is much more of a fresh springy floral.
Fourth steep: The florals are still everlasting, but a buttery note to both the aroma and the flavor has crept in. I can feel the minerals on the way.
Fifth steep: A sweet steamed veggie flavor has arrived. Dinosara related that once the veggie flavors creep in, that is pretty much the end of the flavors for a tie gwan yin. But it was still delicious.
Compounded steeps: We each drank one small cup of each steep, but her gaiwan was big enough for two cups each, so we dumped the leftovers into a larger mug and finished it off later. This was the “steep” that was my favorite. All the flavors of the above steeps compounded lead to a much more complex cup. Sweet and buttery, with tons of floral notes and sweet minerals lingering on your tongue. Truly delicious. I will be pre-ordering some!

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Sweet, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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I started drinking something other than Sleepytime in my first year of grad school, 2011. Enabled by a few decent local tea shops in a big city, I amassed a small cupboard of teas that I now find harsh and bad (haha, I’m getting in too deep!). With my move back to the US and subsequent geographic isolation from tea shops, I recently discovered the world of online tea vendors.
My cupboard is slowly growing but still small. Regardless I am interested in swaps, if you find something in my collection that you would like to try, ask away! I just can’t guarantee yet that I have a lot of it!
I’m very into Jade oolongs and anything that has a floral character (especially jasmine, rose, violet, and lychee scented things!). Most green teas, excepting the extremely bitter, are good in my book, and again I seek sweeter, fresher, greener types, though nutty/savory teas have their place (as long as they don’t tip over into salty!). I then to shy away from smokey or overly roasted teas and for this reason and the fact that I am not a fan of chocolate, everyone’s favorite blacks and wuyi oolongs tend to fall flat for me. White teas are alright but I don’t tend to reach for them unless they are floral scented. I rarely drink herbals, chamomile and I do not get along, but a basic vanilla rooibos, or some flavored green rooibos’ can be interesting.
In general, it could be said that I tend toward floral and sweet oolong, sheng (as well as moonlight whites and yabaos), matcha, and green teas.

As of now my rating system follows the school grading scale in terms of how well the tea performs and how well I like it (100-90 A, 89-80 B, etc.). Anything above 90 will eventually end up in my cupboard, though it’s fine to keep a B student around for daily drinkers!


Athens, Ohio

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