Bidding 2014 farewell with an unexpected sheng kick!

Actually, it kind of fits. In most ways, 2014 was a “bleh” year that was no different than the previous “bleh” years, BUT I had two big positive changes that I would never have expected: 1) I overcame a lifelong insecurity about being single/unable to fall in love, which I always thought would end with me finding My True Love, not with me realizing I’m proud and happy to be a gray-romantic “lone wolf.” 2) After years of feeling aimless, I finally found a career field that interested me (professional writing) and began my Master’s. Yay unexpected things!

Okay, so anywho. Me, my gaiwan, my new gongfu-style tea tray that makes my life 1000% easier (thank you Mom), my electric kettle that makes my life 2000% easier (thank you Grand), my glass cup, and my stream-of-conscious tasting notes.

Steep 1: 10 s (my “rinse” steep, which I drank anyway.) Light gold liquor. Wet leaves smell kind of grassy, but also a roasted wooden undertone. Flavor is bright-ish and lightly woody, with a high-pitched astringent note that’s not bitter. Makes me think of young, dewy tree branches. Almost savory? Oh, this is good.

Steep 2: 15s. Liquor color is now closer to amber. Wet leaves smell more like… you know what they remind me of? Dog hair. They smell like dog. Contrary to what I’d expected, this steep is a lot more astringent, actually kind of bitter. Did I screw something up? I’m trying to see what other flavors I’ve got, but it’s hard to get past that bitterness. Seriously, what did I do?

Steep 3: 20s. I’m trying to drink some water/brush my tongue so that the last steep’s aftertaste doesn’t affect my opinion of this steep. The bitterness has faded some. I’m getting that woody, almost-sweet undertone again. You know what? I used more water in this steep than I did the last one. I wonder if that was the issue.

Steep 4: 25s. I think the liquor has lightened a bit? The bitterness is largely gone, but everything else is pretty muted, too. The wood tone has rounded out. Yeah, it’s OK, but it’s nothing like the first steep.

Steep 5: 35s. Used more water in this steep than the previous ones, since this is my final one and I’m finishing off the water. Now the liquor is all pale and precious again. OK, brushing my teeth with toothpaste before tasting was a bad plan. Crapsies. The tea has all but rounded out. It’s kinda good, it’s pretty mellow, but I can’t tell if it’s really flavorful enough to be worthwhile.

I’m not enough of a sheng connoisseur to know how this one stacks up, but I like it. I think I like Teavivre’s Fenqqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian 2012 a bit better (the complexities stand out more, if I remember correctly), but I’ll have to do another tasting of that one to be sure.

I am really, really getting to enjoy doing these gaiwan tastings. It’s so meditative and positive.

Goodbye 2014… bring it, 2015!

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The name’s Holly. 27. Work for a small IT company. About to finish a Master’s degree this winter. ISFJ for what it’s worth. I play various instruments (mostly bass guitar right now), attempt to write songs that I’m too scared to play for anyone, and I’m currently taking voice lessons. I also enjoy starting various hobbies, wearing monochromes, writing, cooking, taking walks, and various and sundry other things…

I’ve been a tea drinker since spring of 2013. Tea is a source of happiness, positivity, curiosity, and relaxation (…and caffeine) for me.

I’ve been on and off this site over the years, and I even had a separate tea blog at one point. For now, I’m just working on getting back in the habit of enjoying tea regularly and to its fullest.

Love: Malty Chinese black teas, shu/ripe pu erhs, soft flowery teas (esp. jasmine teas)

Like: Japanese green teas, sheng/ripe pu erhs, white teas

Still trying to get into: Most oolongs, chai teas

Not crazy about: Roasty teas, fruity teas, rooibos, many (not all) herbal teas

90-100: YEAH!
80-89: Nice! This is good stuff.
70-79: Respectable tea.
60-69: Not bad.
50-59: Middling. Not really worth it.
25-49: Eeeeeugh. Not good.
0-24: Did you know you can use tea leaves as odor absorbent?



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