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I figured I’d finally get some of my own tasting notes out for this tea, one of my favorites for its profile and ease of brewing. This harvest is from sometime in 2017 and has had over a year for the roast to calm down (it wasn’t too strong to begin with) and allow other aromas and flavors to develop. Tonight, I choose you, gongfu. I haven’t drank this tea gongfu in a long time, instead brewing it in my 20oz thermos all of last semester to fuel me through night classes.

5g, 100mL, 205F, rinse, lost count of steeps but made it through 2L of water tonight.

Dry leaf smells tart, fruity, sweet and toasty with notes of roasted pear, baked apple and quince, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Warmed, it smells like just like cinnamon raisin toast. Rinsing brings out rye, caramel, cardboard, black cherry and a hint of burnt sugar.

This tea starts out strong and fades very slowly. With the first steep, the liquor is a sparkling and intense dark auburn-amber and maintains this color throughout the session. It has a light, sweet aroma with notes of baking spices and toast. In the mouth, I pick up on roasted pear, golden raisin, baked sweet apple, rock sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a light mineral presence. The tea is very clean in the mouth, light-bodied and smooth and lacks much of an aftertaste, making it very easy to drink without having to focus. The tea peaks in flavor around with the third steep, typical for a rolled oolong (it looks like a Chinese tieguanyin rather a balled Taiwanese oolong) and fades slowly from there. Toward the end, the fruit and spice notes become indistinguishable, providing a background to butter and wood/slight tannins, with some sweet lemon becoming noticeable.

Admittedly, the tea hasn’t changed much since I first tried it, but I still love it. It’s an easy-going, unpretentious, straight-forward brew with comforting aromas and flavors that always leave me in an excellent mood.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Kawaii433

I will have to try this one too. Good review. :D I liked their Taiwan GABA very much which is (if I remember correctly) not roasted. Lately, I’ve been favoring roasted oolongs more.

derk

Well you’re in luck.

Kawaii433

Yeah, when I just went to their site, I was glad it’s available.

derk

Lol, I can send you some.

derk

But good to know it’s in stock because I’m getting low.

Kawaii433

Thank you for offering, you keep it since you’re low. I’m going to get more their Vietnam GABA oolong anyway soon. I got a sample of that and really liked it.

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Comments

Kawaii433

I will have to try this one too. Good review. :D I liked their Taiwan GABA very much which is (if I remember correctly) not roasted. Lately, I’ve been favoring roasted oolongs more.

derk

Well you’re in luck.

Kawaii433

Yeah, when I just went to their site, I was glad it’s available.

derk

Lol, I can send you some.

derk

But good to know it’s in stock because I’m getting low.

Kawaii433

Thank you for offering, you keep it since you’re low. I’m going to get more their Vietnam GABA oolong anyway soon. I got a sample of that and really liked it.

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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.” 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.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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