The leaves are loosely rolled into little lumps – they’re not neat or symmetrical enough to be called pearls. Dry, it smells like a flower garden with a bit of a sweet hay scent. When I poured in the water the scent turned spinach-like at first, but then even more pronounced floral notes slowly snuck in and ambush my nose’s scent receptors.
The first steep (2 min @ 85 degrees celcius) is an odd mixture of spinach and floral flavours that remind me of the Iron Goddess of Mercy I got from the Granville Island Tea Company, though that tea was more of a stronger spinach flavour and less floral. As the tea cooled it got more floral and there’s a nice, smoothly-buttery note at the beginning of each sip. By the end it got almost a bit too floral, to the point where it was like gardenia perfume!
Second steep and I’m a bit surprised at how much those small, rolled-up bits of leaves have expanded – what started as one level teaspoon now pretty much fills up my whole strainer! So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the usual amount doesn’t look like it’ll be enough.
Looking at other people’s temperature parameters, I uped the steeping temperature to 90 celcius and steeped for 3 minutes. The resulting tea was significantly darker than the first steep. The flavour profile was similar to the first steep with a bit more robustness. The tea seriously does smell like a bunch of garden flowers in a far more authentic way than any other tea I’ve tried.
The third steep (4 min @ 90) lost a good portion of its floral qualities – a good thing since it was a getting a bit too much like drinking perfume. There’s a sort of bakey flavour that appeared in this steep, sort of like a light, white bread.
It’s a nice tea, but in all honesty (plzdon’tkillmeSamovarfans) I’ve had oolongs that I liked better. The floral qualities are very close to being ‘too much’ and, while the third steep was much better, a tea that takes that many steeps for me to like it isn’t doing too hot.