Finally, I feel like I have enough time to try this tea and do it justice! However, although I’d love to try the authentic dragonwell method, I simply can’t drink hot tea, and can only envision oversteeping occurring as a result of attempting it (although one day I think I’ll give it a shot, I just really don’t want to burn my tongue right now!), so I’m trying a western-brewing sort of thing. I measured out 3g of leaf, popped it into a brew basket, and went with a 1-minute infusion at 175F, hoping that it would work out.

I’m happy to report that I was quite successful – the tea has a light, sweet aroma and a rock sugar flavour much like the Tung Ting Vietnam oolong I just drank from DavidsTEA, however there are light seaweedy notes mixed in here, and additional vegetal notes… and so much more that my poor brain can’t seem to describe! Short version? This is delicious, and a perfect tea selection for this evening. The seaweedy notes I’m getting here are what differentiate this most in my mind from the Dragonwell-style Laoshans, which have the rock sugar sweetness but IMO much less complexity aside from that, with only the green beany sort of flavour. This tea is also so, so smooth.

Very impressed with this one, even though I didn’t brew it as recommended! Onto a second infusion shortly, as I know greens do not take well to sitting overnight prior to re-steeping (in my experience), and I really want to see how this one lasts!

ETA: Second infusion for 1:15 is lighter and less distinctive, but still quite tasty. The vegetal notes are a bit more in the background, and I almost feel like I’m getting a hint of a popcorn sort of flavour… air-popped, we’re not talking buttery here. Yum. Still smooth as anything. I think I’ll try for at least one more infusion (probably 2 minutes) before thiefing some of my roommate’s sesame oil and munching on the leaves…

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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