87

Very nice! I was pleasantly surprised with this Jin Xuan. I had not had a milk oolong such as this one before, but I was familiar with tieguanyin, which this tea resembles. So I was kind of expecting something similar from this tea, but instead I received a much more interesting experience.

The dry leaves were rolled up nice and tight with nice healthy green colorations and a fair bit of attached stem. They smelled of dried fruits and cream with floral and organic undertones, and there was just a tiny hint of a toasty aroma. Very pleasing. While the leaves were quite clean and free of small pieces and loose stems, the colors were inconsistent. They ranged from a dark army green to a bright grassy yellow-green. This was a pretty broad spectrum, so I was a bit nervous at first to the quality.

However, once wet, the leaves expanded tenfold and proved to be very nicely manufactured. Consisting of very large, lightly bruised, and completely whole leaves with large bits of stem connecting up to three or four, they gave off a lovely pear-like, biscuity, and subtly piny scent that calmed the mind. Yet, on closer inspection, I discovered a fair number of the leaves were of extremely poor quality, appearing ragged, broken, and munched on. A huge turnoff for me, but oh well, at least the flavor wasn’t affected.

In essence, I can describe the flavor of this tea as a medium between tieguanyin and gyokuro. It is sweet, floral, and very green with essences of stone-fruits and roasted veggies with a small kick of vegetal astringency. But yet, there is a textural element in this liquor that isn’t present in either of those teas: it is most definitely milky. The mouthfeel is buttery smooth, thick, and lustrous. It also has a biscuit-like aroma and taste, but the latter is more subtle. One thing I really love is the evolution of flavor throughout a sip. The taste rises and expands, becoming more complex and leaving a lingering finish and a refreshing aftertaste. I only have one small gripe: most of the unique flavors of this tea dissipate after the fourth or fifth steep when steeping gong fu. Towards the end of it’s life, it tastes just like the last steeps of a tieguanyin. While this isn’t bad by any means, it’s just not as interesting to me.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °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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