137 Tasting Notes
I’m drinking the winter harvest version. You know how your life seems to progress from a love of simple, bold flavors (Hi-C?) to, say, fine Burgundies (yeah, I’m old) that you never would have remotely liked as a kid? I think I’m somehow enjoying this relatively more delicate but creamy, sweet, thick Jin Shuan at least as much as I ever enjoyed the bolder, crazier versions I’ve tried. I think it’s satisfying, thick body makes up for the relatively delicate (but delicious) flavor.
Tasting this makes me think the first oolong I ever had many years ago must have been a tieguanyin. I brings back everything I love about it with its floral, mineral, mushroom notes. Finally a candidate worthy of filling the spot opened up by the out-of-stock Verdant Handpicked Autumn Tieguanyin. If they were both available, I think I’d have to flip a coin. This version has less-pronounced (but still present) hyacinth flavors in favor of a warmer profile.
When tea drinkers live dangerously. That’s actually kind of true here. Apparently you’re really not supposed to drink this stuff if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and it has a ‘slightly stupefying’ relaxing effect. So it’s basically beer. In flavor it reminds me of….gin? Definitely a bit medicinal but not bad. It’s just a little piney. I’m definitely relaxed, but then, I’m spending an evening drinking tea, reading a cookbook, and playing with my dog. Really hard to pin down the culprit here. Still, I really think I need to keep this around.
This has to be the most beautiful tea I’ve ever seen. You could throw it at weddings. Don’t try to brew it with a little spoon infuser though – even in my basket infuser, I barely stuffed 3.5 grams in there. Next time I might just use a strainer after brewing completely loose. I chose this one because it promises to help with seasonal allergies that seem to be popping up tonight. The flavor is sort of a cousin of chamomile, very comforting, a little less floral perhaps. I think I like it a bit better than chamomile. I’m halfway through the cup, and my allergies have subsided quite a bit, which I of course have to attribute to just being inside for long enough to make tea. Still, maybe it didn’t hurt? UPDATE: Oh it definitely worked. 30 minutes later, after being back outside, I was completely cleared up. My claritin doesn’t work that well. That’s crazy.
Surprise after surprise after surprise. I plucked this tea more or less at random from a giant delivery of nearly all of Camellia Sinensis’ herbals. The first surprise: it looks just like that photo! All of their herbals look just like their ridiculous photos. They look like someone may have cut the stems out of a lovely dried bouquet. Next, the tea brewed up to a deep purple I’ve never seen in a tea. Then the flavor – floral herby basil. Emphasis on the herby basil. I think this will be the perfect pre-bedtime tea.
This and the huang zhi xiang in Verdant’s latest club shipment have opened my eyes to dan congs, and I want to try lots and lots of them now. I think I once tried one I didn’t love and decided ‘dan cong bad.’ Duh. This one has a delightful woodsy sweetness, and I think the only reason it doesn’t go back on my wish list is that the huang zhi xiang knocked it off the list with its non-woodsy marmalade toast sweetness. Still, this is a really charming tea and still working on convincing me to keep it. Which I might.
I guess I’m reviewing me more than the tea. But after tasting this tea (and many others), I think I can finally make the sweeping statement that I like my white teas scented, blended, or cold brewed (which, at least the way I do it, seems to make them taste like black teas anyway). I certainly don’t hate this tea, but I wouldn’t pick it out of the collection voluntarily either. It turns out I don’t love that hay flavor. If you do like white tea though – you should really check out the other tasting notes on this. It gets raves.
For whatever reason, this wants to take over the spot in my green tea collection reserved for Bi Luo. I just don’t need both, and I think I like this better than any Bi Luo I’ve had. It’s sweet and precious and delicate and borders on very light oolonginess (the highest praise, in my book). This is love.