88

Only had gongfu and was definitely better in the clay gaiwan than the porcelain pot. The clay muted some of the roast, though by now, several years after I bought this tea, it is mellow.

Dry nuggets smelled of roast, figs, wood, brown sugar, chocolate carob. Warmed smelled very sweet and dark, rich with dark brown sugar, dried black figs, dried blueberries, florals, dark chocolate. Reminded me of a flourless chocolate cake make with a dark, fruity cocoa powder. The rinsed leaf became woody and pungent, with cooked green beans, seaweed snacks, eggplant, earth and something like tomato ketchup. Also floral — don’t ask how the florals fit in, but they did.

The brew was surprisingly complex and gentle. Thick, sweet mineral water body with a sheer overlay of pear florals, chocolate and dried fruits. Very warming, spicy chili pepper feeling in the mouth, a bit of a throat catch from the lingering roast. Plenty of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg were revealed later along with caramel, earth, grass, pine, cedar and coffee. Lingering mineral-caramel aftertaste turned to apricot skin. I noticed the aroma later with hazelnut chocolate and with this, the taste became more like roasted nuts, plant stems and camphor.

Really well done traditional Taiwanese tieguanyin dark roast. The roast brings out all those complex sweet, dark and fruity notes while leaving the liquor rather light and playful. Pleasantly warming for a December day.

Flavors: Apricot, Biting, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fig, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Mineral, Nutmeg, Pear, Pepper, Pine, Plant Stems, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Seaweed, Spicy, Sweet, Thick, Vegetables, Wood

tea-sipper

Making a roasted tea sound perfect – impossible!

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tea-sipper

Making a roasted tea sound perfect – impossible!

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Bio

Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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California, USA

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