98

First of all, I must rant about the leaves of this tea. They’re of incredible quality. When dry, I received beautiful aromas of sweet vanilla, stone fruits, honeycombs, and orchids which transferred exquisitely into a thick, intensely floral, biscuity sweet smell when wet. I have to say, these are the best-smelling leaves of any tea I’ve had so far. But wait! After steeping and steeping, they unfold to reveal their most fantastic appearance. On the backdrop of their forest green blades tinged with a very slight bruising, is a gorgeous array of spindly, silvery-green veins that spiderweb across the surface—a lovely aspect that I rarely see with such clarity and liveliness in other teas. They feel thick, healthy, and very strong—just as though they were plucked off the bush minutes before they found their way into my gaiwan. I must say, I’m quite impressed.

The infusions these beauties create are just as vibrant: bright, grassy green with golden undertones which produce a surprisingly powerful smell exactly like the wet leaf’s aroma. Everything about this tieguanyin feels alive. Flavors and aromas burst with springtime nuances, while after a sip, the tastes bloom forth and continue to grow, before fading into a great aftertaste of sweet stone fruits and lingering floral notes. The taste pairs wonderfully with the buttery smoothness and silky, creamy textures that build into the fourth steep, where flavor and mouthfeel meld into a thick, honey-like sweetness where the fruity notes reach a climax. Continuing on, the body somewhat lessens and with too short of a steep, becomes a bit weak. However, interesting undertones become apparent from this point and come and go throughout the last steeps: a parsley-like spice, fresh grass, and a mineral/stone flavor.

This tieguanyin provides quite an experience. At any rate, I think I’m starting to get addicted to this tea. I just finished an 11 steep gong fu session, and all I want to do is finish this review and make more…

Ummm, gotta go…

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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