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.