When I made my Verdant order some time ago, I knew from the start that I definitely wanted the Laoshan Black, I definitely wanted the aged woodfired TGY and I definitely wanted the honey orchid oolong. Then there was this one, which I had seen getting lots of positive comments, but on the other hand I tend to feel about green oolongs the way I feel about green and white tea in general. I need to be in the mood. I dithered about it for a while and eventually made an executive decision to save it for later.
“Myself,” I said, “save it for later.”
“Yes ma’am,” I answered myself.
This strategy paid off, because this was exactly the tea that was included as my free sample! How is that for lucky?
Then it sat around in the box for a while, because… in the mood, you know? Today, we had it, the boyfriend and I. Two steeps of it, to which I jotted down a few notes on the back of the empty pouch.
This actually reminds me of something. It occurred to me, as I was jotting down my keywords, that if you look closely, Steepsterites, you might actually be able to tell which posts I’ve written based on keywords and which posts I’ve written while actually drinking the tea in question. The former tend to be more to the point on the descriptions, where the latter often seem to want to be fairly long-winded. Or is that just my perception?
Anyway, for the first steep, I was struck by how extremely flowery it was, both in the aroma and the flavour. If I hadn’t known better, I would have assumed it was scented.
Something else in the flavour gave me a synesthesia poke too. I don’t know exactly what caused that experience. It definitely wasn’t the flowers, I don’t think, because flowers don’t usually come across that way. It was all bright, almost sparkly and very yellow in colour, all cheery and saturated, like a lemon. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that strong an experience. Usually it’s pretty mild, and I often I don’t even register it. I don’t have synesthesia with everything, it seems like it’s more a case of a number of random triggers. (Sometimes I wonder if it’s synesthesia at all, or if it’s just some other sort of random association)
At the very bottom of the flavour, there was something sweet. It was a bit sugar-y for me, and I suppose that’s what others have identified as Rock Candy.
For the second time around, the flowers had retreated a bit. They were still strong, but not as strong, and the flavour experience in general was a bit smoother. It was a little buttery at this point and something else which squints at notes I can’t decipher. Damn this lazy self-invented semi-shorthand note-taking! Oh yes! When I was pouring the cups, there was a note of something in it that reminded me an awful lot of cake. (That must be where the current muffin craving comes from).
The third steep is the one I’m making now, and it’s sort of under duress, because we had a curry for dinner today and the whole kitchen still smells of it. (An odd korma which, while tasty, was nothing at all like how either of us think of korma at all. Weird.) I believe this accounts for the weird aroma notes I experienced while pouring this steep. Vanilla and tobacco? Really, nose?
I. Don’t. Think. So.
Nostrils saturated with other strong smells, however nice, can do a number on you.
Now that I’m back at the desk, there’s not that much aroma left to speak of. I should point out, by the way, that as this was a large shared pot, these aren’t gong-fu steepings. I expect this is probably the last I can get out of these leaves before it turns boring on me. I have very little patience for when the flavours start to get thin, you see. I get bored with it very quickly at that point. So the aroma is all but gone here, but I can pick up some subdued flowers and something that strikes me as vaguely nutty. I’m not sure, however, if the latter is genuine, or if it’s the same sort of issue as the vanilla and tobacco from before. (It’s really very distracting!)
Nope, the nuts are there. The flavour has gone all nutty too. A bit sweet and a bit nutty, but almost all of the stronger vegetal oolongness is gone, so what I’m ending up with comes across largely as erm… nut water. Best way I can think of to describe it. There wasn’t really much cause to bother with this a third time around, or possibly I should have given it even longer than I did. Can’t be changed now, though.
Still, I think I might give the leaves a fourth go tomorrow, only I will transfer them to the small pot first so I can do it more gong-fu-ishly and use the small cups if he still wants to share.