Finally rating it. Since I opened the bag and just let the leaves spread around the tin, the flavor and aroma has been far more forward. Opening up the tin now smells like pineapple sage and cream next to a bundle of lilacs. Brewing it in my Eclipse also improves the flavor significantly leaning harder into pineapple overall than just the heavy amounts of soft lilac and cream. It’s sweet enough to use the condensed milk description I hoped for.

Overall, I think this tea could replace a lot of the Qin Xin’s I buy for a slightly cheaper price. I’m glad that Steven Smith opted this tea to be a regular on the lineup instead of their Alishan because I think this tea is superior. It doesn’t quite beat out my favorite Lishans or Shan Lin Xis, but it’s up there.

I was very tempted to rate it 90, but I think 87 is fair. This is a really good 4 grams western or 3-5 grams grandpa/tumbler tea, but it’s been too soft for me gong fu. It’s easy for me to over or under-leaf it causing an overly soft or overly grassy session, which I know is an error on my part, but I get more of the lilac gong fu and don’t get pineapple until later in the session. Western and grandpa makes all the flavors more forward. I’d still suggest gong fu to people trying to look for dimension because it does change in very subtle ways, but the profile wasn’t as layered as it was with longer steeping times. Thus, it loses a little bit of points gong fu.

Easily, this tea is one of my favorite pure teas from Steven Smith. I’m very tempted to refill my tin in the future. We’ll see how my budget is.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 45 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Good Luxurious Work Teas
Wang Family’s Jasmine Shanlinxi
Spring, Winter Taiwan High Mountain Oolongs

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, Taiwanese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling, Jasmine Shan Lin Xi; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong; Paru’s 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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