12 Tasting Notes
Phenomenal floral flavor and aroma. You’d think this was a scented tea at first because of the strong floral aroma (something like jasmine, gardenias, and camellias all mixed together), but you know it isn’t scented because that aroma lasts through multiple steepings. I took this tea through 5 infusions and was still getting the floral notes. Not an everyday tea by any means, but an incredibly fun addition to the tea cabinet. It’s one of those teas that I like to serve to people as a “taste experiment.” It’s a great demonstration of the range of natural aromas you can get out of just Camellia sinensis leaves without any added extracts or flavorings.
This tea review is inspired by Bonnie and her unique style!
I have some big decisions to make soon and my mind has been racing all of yesterday and today. I needed something to clear my head. A hike? Some tea? Why not both! I packed up my Jetboil camp stove, my most durable yixing pot, a cup, a tiny vase, and some Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong from Red Blossom. I found a spot near the bank of the Cache La Poudre river and created a tea space with rocks and logs and a cloth I brought with me. In the vase, I placed the first signs of spring—some willow branches close to bud-burst. The first steeping was intense, probably brewed a little too long, but full of flavor! Sweet plumy flavors and floral aromas were balanced by a slight astringency. Subsequent infusions lead to less complexity, but a more harmonious flavor. The slight astringency was replaced by a smooth and full-bodied mouthfeel and the floral aromas mellowed into a more honey-like taste. At the same time, my mind slowed along with the tea. Disparate and racing thoughts disappeared and were replaced by a calmness. I was finally able to be solidly in the present for the first time in a long while.
Wonderful oolong with lingering flavor. This is an incredibly interesting, and perplexing tea given it’s description. I was expecting something like a traditional roast Dong Ding, but it is in fact a lot more like a Dan Cong in flavor. Wonderful sweet apple and honey fragrance with a hint of something floral in the first steeping. Later steepings give some more astringency and actually are better with a shorter steeping. Oddly, you get more of the roasted notes in later steepings. Because of the roast and the lingering aftertaste, I’d immagine this one would be a good candidate for aging as well.
I tried a sample of this the other day (thanks Bonnie!). I was skeptical at first because it was called genmaicha but looked like it was made with gunpowder green tea. I read the label though, and started to get excited when I saw that it was tea grown in Thailand. I’d never had a Thai-grown tea before! It looked to be about half tea and about half toasted purple sticky rice. I LOVE purple sticky rice. The fragrance is amazing.
Flavor-wise, this is NOT genmaicha, or at least not recognizably so. It’s a fairly full-bodied tea with a wonderful jasmine rice fragrance. I steeped it twice and it held up to re-steeping well. A win for creativity for sure! I don’t think I’d drink this on a daily basis, but it was fun for my tastebuds!
Thanks Bonnie for the sample! I brewed this tea in a yixing pot. I used approximately 2 tsp of leaf for a roughly 6 oz pot.
Dry leaf appearance: almost like bits of charcoal. Very dark, crisp looking leaves. This shou is loose-leaf, not compressed into a cake.
Dry leaf aroma: Very little aroma from the dry leaves, likely because the leaves are very old!
After a short rinse, I brewed the first infusion for around 20 sec with boiling water. The liquor is surprisingly light considering the darkness of the leaves. Aromas are musty, but not in a bad way. The flavor is very sweet and toasty (but not roasty) up front with some very interesting notes that I couldn’t really name. Subsequent infusions reveal a peppery spice and increase the sweetness.
Oh, and this tea does indeed have strong chi! After four infusions, I can definitely feel the theanine kicking in.