I started out with this tea on the current nice fall morning. Dropping temperatures were pretty sudden here in Michigan from the humid 87-90 F weather last week to the temperate and chilly 72 and 60s this week.

I gong fu’d it this morning, and I’ve tumblered/grandpa’d it over the past few months. It did pretty nicely gong fu, but wasn’t too different western. Grandpa yielded a lot of smoothed out chocolate cherry flavor when I went medium to light leafwise, and gong fu added a little bit more bitterness and dryness. The previous review nailed the drying hay quality the tea sometimes has. This time, the chocolate notes were more along the lineso of dark chocolate, and the berry notes were bordering on jammy. I’ve been tempted to put blueberry as one. I usually am careful with “jammy” teas because they tend to be a little bit more astringent like in a ceylon or Assam category, but it works with the chocolate and caramel notes insanely well.

The tea really didn’t last beyond four steeps. It’s still a comfort tea that hits all the right spots for my palette in black teas. I’m not sure what to rate it. I can see a rating in the 80s because it’s a daily black that’s not super complex or long lasting, but in terms of flavor and aroma, this is almost a 100. I basically rate teas based on whether or not it serves the purpose I got it for, and I think this is one of the few cheaper versatile blacks I’ve gotten that hits the high notes of more expensive teas.

Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Hay, Honey, Jam, Malt, Smooth, Sweet

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First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Grand Crew Teas
Wuyi Origins Jin Jun Mei Sampler
What-Cha Jin Jun Mei
Good Luxurious Work Teas
A good Qilan
Best Sachet Teas

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwaneese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong


I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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