Thanks to Stephanie for sending me a mini tuocha in her swap!

Had a gongfu session with my ceramic gaiwan. I pried the tuocha apart. About half went in the bowl. Gave it a ten-second rinse. Let it sit for ten minutes. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60; 6 minutes.

After sitting in the heated bowl, the dry leaf smells of earth, then leather, then chocolate. The rinse aroma is delicious: chocolate-covered coffee beans! I mostly smell leather thereafter.

The soup is dark, clear and full-bodied. Flavor fills the mouth. The texture is creamy most of the time (smooth in the middle of the session). It begins with sweet earth and a hint of chocolate. From the second infusion to the last, I taste black coffee and a bit of old leather. The bitterness from the coffee is not off-putting – it reminds me of higher quality coffee. In the back of the throat, during the aftertaste, there are notes of dark fruit (raisins, acai berry) and dark chocolate.

I thought this was alright. I enjoyed the creamy texture and the intense flavor, but I learned I’m not keen on black coffee in my shou. Glad I got an opportunity to sample this!

4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

Japanese greens were my first love and gateway into the world.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs, pu’erh (shou and sheng), and masala chai. My favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum.

I’m currently exploring pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored teas, unlike when I first started. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced.

I like to write nature essays. I’m a birdwatcher as well as a tea enthusiast. The kiwi is one of my favorite birds. I also like Tolkien, Ancient Egypt, and exercising.

IMPORTANT NOTE, PLEASE READ: After two and a half years of having an account here, I will no longer will provide numerical ratings as an addition to the review because the American school system has skewed my thoughts on numbers out of a hundred and the colors throw me off. Curses! My words are more than sufficient. If I really like what I have, I will “recommend”, and if I don’t, “not recommended”.

Key for past ratings:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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