This was one of my sipdowns from around the end of March and the start of the current month. It was also a tea I kind of rushed into blindly in the sense that I did not research it much. I tend to be a really huge fan of Red Jade black teas, so I was eager to see what a Red Jade GABA oolong would be like. Ultimately, I found this tea to be a unique and rather enjoyable expression of the Red Jade cultivar, though I also felt that it would probably not be for everyone.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, sweet potato, brown sugar, chocolate, and molasses. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of spinach, wintergreen, and red grape. The first infusion then introduced aromas of plum and malt. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of baked bread, malt, sweet potato, molasses, red grape, plum, and wintergreen that were backed by hints of chocolate and spinach. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of geranium, grass, earth, pear, horehound, wood, blood orange, red apple, and straw. Notes of cream, minerals, geranium, pear, grass, red apple, wood, straw, horehound, earth, honey, and blood orange appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging brown sugar notes and hints of leather and tobacco. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, sweet potato, plum, malt, cream, earth, red apple, pear, straw, and grass that were balanced by hints of geranium, spinach, brown sugar, horehound, molasses, and wintergreen.

Overall, this was an odd, interesting, and rather enjoyable GABA oolong, but it was also very challenging and prickly. Personally, this was a tea for which I would have to be in the mood. I could not ever imagine it being a regular basis tea, let alone an everyday tea. Still, it had a lot to offer, and I could see drinkers curious to see how the Red Jade cultivar handles being processed into anything other than a black tea or those who enjoy quirky and/or experimental teas getting a kick out of it.

Flavors: Blood Orange, Bread, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Pear, Plum, Red Apple, Spinach, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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