I haven’t had great luck gong fu so far since I’ve tended to over or under leaf it. The results were a malty floral session bordering on bitter and brassy on the occasions I got this tea wrong. Backing up on the leaf helps, but then it’s more floral pushing back the sweeter honey notes in later sessions. I did it western at 2 min, 3 min, 4 min, and 5 min this morning and brought in more chocolate and sweet potato in the flavor, chrysanthemum in the background, caramel in steep three, and honey in the last two steeps for comfort on this hot day.

I am really happy with it today, so I am going to rate it in the 90s. It’s a little trickier than some of the other black teas I have to brew gong fu, and the metallic brass note is what makes this one a hit or miss, though usually, it’s a hit. Light western seems to be the way to go with it. I think this is a stepping stone tea for newbies going into black tea, and a solid staple for people looking for a good Yunnan gold tea. A part of me prefers this one a little bit to What-Cha’s snail version for this one’s complexity, but the snail version is a more forgiving when I’ve brewed it in my experiences. I’m curious to see if anyone has had a different experience with those teas.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Chrysanthemum, Dandelion, Honey, Malt, Metallic, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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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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