89

Over the past few days of doing a sipdown with this tea, I’ve brewed it at a lower temperature (only 5 degrees difference) and noticed some differences, the biggest being a pronounced milkiness in texture in the first steep. Straw, malt, mace (warming and quite peppery, kind of sweet), almond, cream and butter became the dominant notes in taste.
The cocoa I had gotten previously pretty much disappeared. There was still enough of a high note between the fruity nose and the muscatel, orange blossom and yellow gooseberry in the mouth to keep it interesting. The first steep produced an aftertaste of cream/butter while the second was fruity with a lingering light astringency. Again, this tea is versatile in that I can gain equal pleasure by either taking my time sipping or drinking it quickly. The mornings here have been chilly lately and this tea has been a nice accompaniment.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Bio

If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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