“Trip to Changtai, vol. 7”

This is definitely the thickest semi-aged puerh I’ve had to date. To be honest, it’s overwhelming. The tea starts of ridiculously thick with medicinal, tobacco and camphor tastes and a balanced, aged, calm feel. It develops a caramel flavor as steeps progress and that sweetness is very evident in the aroma. It also quickly turns sandy-tongue astringent and bitter but but it’s an alkaline flatness instead of an engaging bitterness. The very thick character amplifies the flat alkaline taste and mutes the feel of the tea in general. Didn’t bother going beyond 7 infusions. It’s… interesting. Like the flat character, it left me feeling as such.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Camphor, Caramel, Dark Wood, Herbaceous, Leather, Medicinal, Smoked, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Wood

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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.

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Sonoma County, California, USA

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