Ohhh wow this… is… incredible. Simply yet ever so complicatedly incredible. As in my tongue and my nose do not believe what they are tasting and smelling. I have never had an orchid oolong and I wanted so very much to try this when I saw it on Steepster a couple months ago. I inquired first with David as to if it would be returning, when it seemed not, I turned to Steepster and used it for what it is: a community, a community of very generous tea lovers. So I asked around, starting with the locals and those who didn’t care as much for this one. The good lady Angrboda who is in no way local, answered my plea and sent me this and some other lovely samples from Europe! Thank you so very much for giving me the opportunity to try this, I am so grateful.

The teas from Ang arrived a couple weeks ago, but alas I had a sinus infection and put them off. However if I had known what this tea was going to do to my throat ans nasal passages i probably would have drank it right away. It is so cooling and cleansing and tea gods don’t strike me down, but it does remind me of my brew of Throat Coat and Twig Tea. However I am glad I waited to take the time to fully savor this, I probably would have thought I was crazy for that observation then anyway. For today I have the house to myself, a rare blessing, as my mother has taken the toddler to a parade. I took a shower, lay down for awhile and treated myself to this very special tea for my 99th tasting note and after this I think I may do some art!

Upon opening the pouch I was met with an unexpected aroma, true I didn’t know what to expect, but definitely not dark grassy Gyokuro. I have not found this grassy note in the cups I have brewed and infact it changed as soon as the leaves hit the warm mug, to something strange and culinary I just can’t put my finger on. I did the quickest of steps with water just off the boil and the smell changed to something more earthy and illeagal, the word hash sprang to mind, though I only have one vague years old memory that. The aroma of the liquor shape shifted in the cup as the taste did in my mouth, starting out sort of charcoaly and morphed into that cool almost medicinal brew (medicinal in the most natural herb and root sense).

I was worried at first that I had scorched the leave as it started out toasty, then came a slight sweetness, then a coolness at the back of the mouth, developing into candy and flooding my nose from the inside out. I have never had ginseng oolong, but I can understand the comparison as this is all ginseng and anise and only the slightest bit of floral, candied flowers, orchid concentrated, sweetened and made into a cough drop and a nasal spray and I love it. Yes it is sweet but it’s also intense, almost harsh at moments, but with a self-soothing mechanism built in.

So I can understand why a few didn’t care for it, but I immediately want to share it, in a tasting with Yabao and the ‘04 Yanxin’s Reserve Shu Nuggets. Me thinks this would have to be the last tea tasted though. I wish I had enough for that and a cold brew, but sharing wins out. But for now I am going to see if I can draw out more that these first five infusions, it’s getting a bit ashy, but I think there is still life in them yet. Thank you Angrboda for sharing this and David Duckler and Verdant Tea for supplying and sourcing it!

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YAY for successful re-homings! I’m so pleased that you found it worth the bother of asking around for it and I’m equally pleased to have it off my hands. :D

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YAY for successful re-homings! I’m so pleased that you found it worth the bother of asking around for it and I’m equally pleased to have it off my hands. :D

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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