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I brewed this tea gong fu style in a 100ml gaiwan filled between one third and one half with dry leaf.

This Oriental Beauty has a great character, with a bright, crisp black tea-like finish. The flavor of the liquor is right there to enjoy off the cusp of the sip, but also evolves slightly to bring out a body with decent complexity, which fades slowly. The aftertaste was pleasant, smooth, and sweet and filled the back of the throat nicely, with a bit of a bitter glaze at the back of the mouth.

Receiving close to 18 steeps, the flavors of the liquor evolved very intriguingly. At first bringing a woodsy, cedar-nut, “pure tea” taste with undertones of sweet pines and spiced apples, it somewhat reminded me of a Formosa oolong in texture and body. Over time, though, the sweet and fruity notes became more pronounced while the pure tea and spicy tones were reduced. By close to the ninth steep, an earthiness appeared, adding further complexity and texture. Towards the end of steeping, the sweetness of this tea was one of the most pronounced tones in addition to musky and stony flavors which replaced the piney nature of this tea that was ever so present in the beginning.

It would have been nice to have all of the flavors present at once in varying degrees, which would have produced a resounding depth, something which this tea does not have much of. While bringing forth a great many different flavors and nuances, the interesting tones noted at the beginning were difficult to find towards the end. This left a somewhat hollowness in each steep, as if the tea was never able to attain a completely full body. This phenomenon is even more pronounced if brewed with fewer leaves. When I first tried this Oriental Beauty gong fu style with a smaller amount of leaves than I used for the above analysis, I was disappointed by the lack of complexity and resonance, seemingly receiving the same tea over and over. I’m glad I tasted it again with a heftier amount, otherwise I wouldn’t have achieved the memorable, if not somewhat lacking, experience this tea is capable of.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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Bio

I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Teaware
Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.

Location

Fort Myers, Florida

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