Something my aunt picked up on her trip to the motherland.

The bag smells really good, like hair freshly washed with a lightly scented lemon shampoo. Kind of a musty quality but clean. The liquor smells the same but with an added depth probably from the saffron and rooibos. I can also pick up on the peppermint and a faint whiffs of rosemary and sage. It kind of reminds me of a Ricola throat lozenge.

On first sip, it also has the sweet medicinal quality of Ricola but then it turns savory and deep with a brightness from all the lemon-tasting ingredients. Thankfully the lemongrass is not perceptible as a separate ingredient. It’s also quite oily from the herbs and light to medium bodied. Tastes a lot like a light, fresh vegetable broth made with a little fresh rosemary and sage and a few drops of lemon. Leaves a nice clean feeling in the mouth afterward.

I’m really enjoying this and will stuff a few bags into my already overflowing backpack to take home.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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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.” 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.

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.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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