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  • Neldon Hamblin

Old Ways Tea 2020 Shi Ru

Hey friends! I'm back with a delicious yancha from Phil and Mengjiao of Old Ways Tea. This one came in their April subscription box and is a 2020 harvest shi ru, or "stone milk" oolong. This tea is described as "an interesting variety known for its creamy and smooth fragrance". Without further ado, let's get into this review.


Brewing Parameters:

8g/100ml gaiwan

100°C/212°F water


Dry leaf: milky, creamy roasted cashews?


Warmed gaiwan: roasted, toasted cashews and almonds/nuttiness


Rinse 10s: this smells like a thick, whole chocolate milk??? Smells super sweet and cocoa-y. Tastes: light roastiness, warming body. Cocoa. Barley. Leaves smell like very mineraly dark chocolate in the gaiwan.



1st steep 10s: floral? Milk. Weirdly creamy flowers. Imagine biting into a rose and then drinking a glass of heavy cream. Very slippery mouthfeel- goes to the gut fast and I'm feeling this one early. Very astringent now too?



2nd steep 10s: again, oddly floral but very pleasant? I'm getting a very heavy orchid flavor. This very much tastes like a perfumed tea but it's most definitely not. The rocky yancha yanyun I usually get in later steeps is coming through amazingly now. Nice hints of woody vegetal.



3rd steep 15s: this is most definitely a yancha. Very pleasant, slippery mouthfeel. Instantly warms my stomach, with an energy feeling to that of a whiskey or bourbon. Greens coming through now. Tongue feeling drier.



4th steep 30s: color similar to golden syrup now; wheat


5th steep 30s: light color, heavy wheat flavor now; very astringent and yanyun-y


10th steep 1min 45s: dead. Very green and wheat and drying.


Bonus franken-cup: wow, actually really good? Chocolate, cream, grass, orchids. Heavy drying and astringency but very nice for a mix of all of my discarded steeps. I would (and did) drink this!



When they've started dying, I notice the leaves in gaiwan smells like cannabis. Very nice tea overall.


Verdict: 4/5 longevity, 4.3/5 taste


This tea is a very nice yancha overall. Plus, the packaging is beautiful! Very unique and milky. I really enjoyed this. Unfortunately at the moment it's only available through the club, but it might come up on their site soon. So, no price breakdown this time. I will definitely savor this and enjoy this.




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