910 Tasting Notes
As you might all know, I have been in a funk lately…SAD getting me down, hand arthritis keeping me from painting, fibromyalgia pain keeping me from being overly intellectual and delving into research…all I have is Minecraft and tea, which honestly isn’t that bad since both of these are great passions of mine. Ben, knowing I am just a pile of grumpiness surprised me today, I had to go to CVS to get some toiletries and afterwards he took me for Greek food! I absolutely love Greek food and could possibly live off of feta and kalamata olives if left to my own devices. The restaurant had a video of beautiful scenery of Greece and I found myself munching on olives while daydreaming about the Mediterranean. A very pleasant treat.
Today I am taking a look at another tea from Xin Mu Cha, their Nonpareil Taiwan Ali-Shan Fo-Shou Oolong. I have not had a Fo Shou in quite some time, this tea is grown both in Taiwan and Wuyi, and its name means Buddha’s Palm, I have seen that this name is both a reference to the fruit due to its subtle citrus notes or because the leaves are really big like the Buddha’s palm. This Fo Shou comes from Ali Shan, a tea mountain I find myself visiting often…and by visiting I mean I have had many Oolongs from there, and they never disappoint. The aroma of this Oolong is very sweet, blending notes of yeasty orchids, honeysuckles, hyacinth, and a distinct orange blossom and grapefruit flower note blended with honey. There is a citrus quality, but to me it smells more of citrus flowers, bringing back happy memories of visiting the local conservatory.
My XiShi has felt sad and neglected lately, so I pulled her off the shelf and stuffed her full of leaves. Wow, the aroma of the wet unfurling leaves is intense stuff! Strong notes of orchid and honeysuckle with an accompaniment of grapefruit blossom and distant lemon zest. There are also underlying notes of buttery green cooked spinach. The liquid is a light blend of sweetness and flowers, bringing in nectar of hyacinth and grapefruit blossom with honey and a touch of buttery sweetness.
For the first steeping I was pleasantly greeted with a very mellow smooth taste, the texture is soft and smooth, bordering on velvety without being thick. The flavor notes start out floral with notes of hyacinth and orchid, this transitions to gentle green notes of lemon leaves and cooked bok choy and butter. For the finish, this might be my favorite part of this tea, the finish is cooked lotus leaves with an aftertaste of flower nectar sweetness.
Second steeping time, the aroma is a blend of buttery bok choy, spinach, lotus leaves and flowery notes of grapefruit blossom, orchids, and hyacinths. This steep is very smooth and thick, not oily like some Oolongs, but velvety and soft while filling the mouth, it is a very pleasant texture. The taste is more green than sweet, though it is not outright savory, very buttery and green like bok choy and spinach with a mineral note at the middle. Towards the end a note of cooked cabbage and lotus leaves pops up, but the finish is sweetness. Blending honeysuckles and grapefruit blossoms, the flowery sweetness lingers well after the sip is finished.
The third steep has such lovely amber colored liquid, the color could fool me into thinking this was a lightly roasted Oolong, but the aroma and taste tell me otherwise. The aroma is green and flowery, balanced in this with notes of lotus leaves and bok choy along with grapefruit blossoms and orchids. The taste this time around has only a hint of the buttery green notes of the previous steep, instead it is zesty and bright with notes of lemon leaves and lotus leaves. This moves to orchids and honey with a lingering note of grapefruit blossom in the aftertaste. The leaves gave me a couple more steeps, getting sweeter as it finished.
The other day I decided that one of the hills in Ramble needed a small Victorian mansion, like the kinds I ogled a lot when I lived in Mechanicsburg. Somehow this turned from Victorian to an eight story sprawling Tudor Revival estate, not really sure how, but epic. This led me to think that I need to study architecture styles so I can incorporate more into my buildings, currently I am working on building the La Serena Lighthouse in Chile, my first Spanish Colonial Revival build, so far so good.
No tea gives me as many problems when it comes to reviewing like Sheng Puerh, you really can’t get a good feel for how the tea is going to evolve in the standard three steeps my blog has evolved into, and as much as I tempted to go back to my old ways of epic long 14 steeps worth of detailed notes, I will leave that nonsense to my personal tea notebooks. See, drinking a Sheng is not just a standard enjoying a tea session, it is an experience! From new to old, you don’t just drink this tea you FEEL IT! No tea has driven that home quite like White2Tea’s 2015 Bosch. From the first sniff I knew it was going to be trouble, it blended those seductive notes of camphor and cedar with hints of smoke and spinach, there is a subtle distant sweetness that is really hard to pin down…but sorry, I was lost in camphor and smoke. By the tea gods I love smoke in my shengs, it makes me feel rugged.
Giving the customary rinse and a flash steep, the aroma of the leaves now looses all the smoke, but what is left is strong camphor (well my sinuses are happy) and pungent wet hay, spinach, honey, and a complex juiciness that is damn hard to describe. It is dancing, there is a dancing teasing tea spirit that is luring me down into the cups. I think this sheng is a siren. Good heavens, I am just sniffing it and the tea drunk is starting.
In the beginning there was light, it was like drinking a firework, not in texture of course, that would be unpleasant, but the combination of taste, qi, and texture lights up my brain like a smack to the head. It starts with drool inducing slight sourness that makes my teeth sharp, it then brings out gentle sweetness that lingers in my throat and with each exhale I feel the sweetness. Camphor, spinach, wild roses, apples, yeasty bread, pine needles, rice cakes, and caramel. This tea is telling quite the story in its infancy.
Several steeps in and I am really feeling this one, it lights my belly on fire like what I would imagine eating icy-hot would feel like, it cools but it burns. My limbs feel like jelly and my brain feels like it is stuffed full of fluff, there is tea drunk and there is tea stoned. Later in the steeping I get a lot of subtle notes, it is a very nuanced tea, with notes of wildflowers, camphor, cedar, apricot, bitter melon, honey, pepper, and a killer pungent wet hay. Later in the steeps there is a mouth drying bitterness that causes a sweet salivary explosion, it coats the mouth, and as young shengs can go this is not terribly bitter.
In the later steeps, yeah I am beyond tea stoned, I am about to float off to another dimension, forget muscle relaxers and pain killers just give me this tea. Actually no, this baby did to my stomach what an Advil does, sure the rest of my body doesn’t hurt, but I am feeling a dull burning ache in my stomach that ended up lasting several days. So glad I ate before I started in on this! As the tea finished off it lost pretty much all its bitterness, I just had sweetness and camphor, cooling and burning, inducing a decent amount of drool in the process.
There is a lot going on, it is a beautiful tea whose memory will live large in my brain, and maybe when I am a little richer I can justify getting a cake, because Puerh is an employed person’s passion, though I will say, if you get the chance to try it, do it! Bosch outlasted me, I had to throw in the towel at steep 11 before I passed out. At the very finish notes of mineral and gentle distant (I might be hallucinating) smoke danced with honey and pepper. The aftertaste, qi, and oily thickness lasted for a long time after I finished…pretty sure I could still taste it the next morning, but it could be I was still tea stoned.
After much debate and talking with Ben, both of us have decided that I need a sun-lamp, because my SAD is just awful. Each winter I turn into this pitiful, miserable, pain filled lump…clearly I am actually a plant, though not a coniferous, alas. I used to think I had SAD during the summer as well as winter and I would just deal with it, but thinking things through I tend to just feel grumpy and uncomfortable in summer because I loathe the heat, it is just me being a big baby, but in winter I just get kinda catatonic, one step away from hibernating. Next step is to research a good sun lamp, any SAD people out there with suggestions?
It is time to delve into the pile of notebooks from long ago, filled with tea notes of yore! Today we are looking at Monk’s Mead by SerendipiTea, a blend of Apple, Apple Flavor, Chamomile, Mango, Mango Flavor, and Rosehips, all organic and natural! This tea is supposed to evoke the taste of mead, and I have never had mead, the closest I have had is Oenomel, or Grecian Honeyed Wine, so I cannot say how close this tea gets to its goal. The aroma is pretty great, blending dried apples, honey, and the straw and vaguely fresh apple aroma of chamomile. At the very finish is a slightly citrus sour note from the rosehips, though that fades really quickly.
You know one of the things I kinda hate about chamomile? It gets sooooo stuck into the fine mesh of the steeping basket, meaning it is a real pain to clean, other than that I love the stuff. The aroma is primarily chamomile, blending straw, pollen, strawflowers, and a touch of apples. I pick up a gentle note of mango at the finish, but mostly this is all chamomile all the time. The liquid is a blend of mango and apple with a slightly sour note and a finish of pollen and strawflowers.
The first thing I noticed about this tea is the utter lack of anything but chamomile, the front taste is all chamomile all the time, with strong notes of pollen and wildflowers fading to apples. That apple note builds from a distant apple memory to a full on baked apple, with extra sweetness from the mango. At the finish there is a note of honey, with a slightly sour citrus note, it lingers for a while, making me salivate from the sourness. This is not a bad tea, it did not wow me overly much, but I found it pleasant, I think I would have liked it a lot more if it lacked the rosehips, since for me this tea shined most when it was very sweet.
For blog and (crappy old) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/serenditpitea-monks-mead-tbt-tea-review.html
Le Gasp! I just realized flipping through my notes that I am running low on What-Cha teas to review, jeaopordizing What-Cha Wednesdays, looks like a shopping trip is in my future, not that I need an excuse, but we are not out of teas quite yet, we still have Taiwan Medium Roast Dong Ding Qing Xin Oolong Tea for example. This tea hails from Wushe Garden in Nantou, Taiwan and is made from the Qing Xin varietal with a medium roast, the bare minimum for me to seek out a Dong Ding. No offense to green Dong Ding, I just prefer the roast, so comforting! The aroma of these leaves is really surprisingly sweet, like sesame seeds and almond paste drizzled with honey sitting next to a bouquet of honeysuckles.
Gaiwan time for the leaves, and the aroma of the soggy and unfurled leaves is really quite heady with notes of spicebush, squash flowers, orchid and honeysuckle, but blended with sesame seeds, acorn squash, and a gentle bread note at the finish. The liquid is sweet and creamy with notes of sesame seeds, acorn squash, almond paste, honey, and a finish of distant orchids.
For all the sweetness of the aroma, surprisingly the taste is only a little sweet, not at all cloying. It starts with a smooth almost oily mouthfeel and a distinct buttery note that moves to almond butter and sesame seeds. The finish is a gentle vegetation and bok choy note that lingers for a bit. This tea retains enough of its pre-roast that it shakes things up a bit, which is fun.
The second steep is intensely sweet in the nose, strong notes of honey and sesame, reminding me of sesame candies, and a nice burst of squash at the finish. The mouthfeel, like the first steep, is very smooth and almost oily, like eating cashews. In fact it has a bit of a cashew note along with the sesame seeds and almond nuttiness. This steep has more of the roasted notes I am used to with a roasted Dong Ding, notes of nuttiness with squash, honey sweetness, and mellow butteriness. At the finish is distant orchid which lingers for a bit.
Onward to the third steeping, notes of buttery spicebush and squash blend with honeysuckles and sesame greet my nose, it is sweet and gently toasty. The mouthfeel this steep is a bit dryer, with a crispness at the finish, but it is still quite smooth. The taste is sweet and toasty, notes of spicebush and cashews, sesame and honeysuckle, and a lingering gentle buttery note. This is a very mellow Dong Ding, and it hits the spot.
Espeon is a total goofball! On New Years Day the local thrift stores all had a half-off sale, and I decided to go hunting teaware and more importantly go hunting a new desk chair, because my previous one was barely functioning. The arm grips were ragged messes held together with duct tape, it was missing bolts so it leaned precariously to one side, and it barely rolled right anymore…it was in a sad state. Luckily I found a fantastic new chair, it rolls like a dream, is surprisingly comfy, delightfully retro (it came from 1993 or so the sticker would have me believe) and has a nice high back. This high back has become a favorite perch for Espeon, especially when I am in the chair (I fear for the teaware behind me, her tail is a menace) except she has decided the best way to go about perching is to have her back half on the chair and her front half draped across my shoulder. This is all fine, except when I move she gets sooooo mad at me, she is a spoiled little tortie!
Cat drama aside, it is time to look at another tea from Xin Mu Cha, specifically their Nonpareil Taiwan ShanLinXi Black Tea. This tea is not on their website at this time, so I don’t have much info for it other than it is a Black Tea and from Shan Lin Xi, a region that has produced many teas I have enjoyed. I always find Shan Lin Xi Oolongs to be very aromatic and crisp, so seeing the tea made into a black tea excites me, I have a weakness for teas that are usually processed a specific way being treated differently, it creates some exciting results. The aroma of the rather fluffy large leaves is intense, notes of molasses and malt, leather and apple wood, toasted peanuts, sweet potatoes, and a finish roasted beans. It has a starchy quality and a subtle sweetness.
Into the gaiwan the leaves go for their steeping, the aroma of the now soggy leaves is rich with notes of cocoa and malt, sweet potatoes, molasses. and underlying notes of gentle spice and sweetness. The liquid is quite sweet, malty and molasses notes are dominant with a touch of dry leather and cocoa. It is strong and rich, with a touch of briskness that acts as a good balance to the richness.
The first steep starts with a smooth mouthfeel, and a taste that is rich without being overpowering. The taste starts with starchy sweet potatoes and gentle spice, it has an autumnal feel to it. It then moves to malt and a lingering fruity tobacco finish, the aftertaste is honey and slightly woody and it lingers.
Onward to the second steep! The aroma is a blend of molasses and brown sugar with gentle notes of leather and cocoa. It is sweet and rich, with just the right amount of briskness to wake my nose up. The taste is very similar to the first steep, and just as smooth. Notes of ever so slightly autumnal sweet potato and pumpkin with baked fruit (specifically apple) and gentle spice. It moves to brown sugar and molasses at the finish and has a slight leather note in the aftertaste.
For the third steep, the aroma takes a bit of a creamy note with the notes of molasses and brown sugar, the leathery notes are gone and replaced with gentle fruitiness. The taste takes some notes from the aroma and has a creamy quality, any briskness from the previous steeps has left and it is all smooth sweetness all the times. It finishes with baked apples and sweet potatoes with a lingering molasses note.
I have become like unto a zombie, spending all my waking time chugging tea and playing Minecraft. Ok no that is a lie, I have gone grocery shopping and I am writing this now between adding floors to my epic cliff building. It has a clock-tower. I am debating, once I get a bit more building done and expand things, I am tempted to do a Twitch livestream tour of my world, blame my mom for this idea. She is convinced I am a master builder and need to show off the skills, I want to do it as a way to document how my world evolves over time, since it seems the Xbone does not have a share screenshot to facebook function like the 360, tragic.
So the other day I over-indulged, I ate way too much gross food and just felt like my guts were covered in slime, I wanted a tea that was acidic and sour (since I was out of kalamata olives, my usual go-to for post gross food binging.) So rummaging through my stash I found BlendBee’s Lime Green With Envy and went ooooh, because citrus is my other go-to digestive aide, bingo! This tea is a blend of Sencha, China Green Tea (which is a Chun Mee) Lemon Peel, Raspberry Leaf, and Lime Extract, and I adore green tea blended with citrus, it is probably my favorite fruit to blend with green tea, it is just so refreshing! The aroma is very citrus heavy, a nice blend of lime and lemon, with lemon leaves, green fresh grass, and fluffy green notes of raspberry leaves…no really, it smells fluffy to me, can’t really describe why.
Into my pretty glass pot the tea goes, I wanted to look at it steeping because green tea is pretty. The aroma of the wet leaves is super citrus, lots of lemon and mellow lime, strong green notes of spinach and grass with undertones of lettuce. It kinda smells like a salad, and I like that since lemon juice is my favorite dressing. The liquid, however, smells much sweeter, but still has savory undertones of spinach and grass, but the citrus notes are sweet, with an undertone of nuttiness.
So, is this tea going to hit the spot and make me feel less ill? Yep, that citrus did the trick! It is not a super sweet tea, it is refreshing and sour, like eating a nice green salad with lemon and lime dressing. There are notes of grass and spinach, a touch of hay, some turnips greens, and a finish of lime that lingers for a while. This tea is definitely good hot, but letting it chill makes it amazingly refreshing, I can’t wait to cold steep this one come summer time.
Guess what I am doing? If you guessed playing Minecraft on my new Xbox One then you are totally correct! My beloved Ramble is now monstrously huge, with many Ocean monuments, Ice Spike biomes, jungles, and fancy roofed forests. I am very pleased with how the terrain generated on the rest of the expanded world, lots of potential for epic build, and of course lots of mountains, because Ramble wouldn’t be the same without a ton of extreme hills. I only have one complaint, there is a glitch that I assume will be fixed in the next bug fix that makes map walls totally unusable, this saddens me because the first thing I did was fill all the maps and make a map wall at spawn.
Today I am looking at a tea from Adagio Teas, a store I have a great nostalgic fondness for since they were the first tea company to show up on the blog, and the first online shop I ordered from. It was scary at first, being so used to going to Wegman’s (which is a distributor for Ito-En) and selecting based on sight and sniff, moving away meant I needed to bite the bullet if I wanted a steady flow of tea. So in a way, Adagio Teas is to thanks for my raging out of control tea stash! The particular tea I am looking at is Fujian Rain, their name for Shui Xian (or Shui Hsien, Water Sprite, Water Narcissus…so many names!) one of my favorite of the Wuyi Rock Oolongs. The aroma of the dark curly leaves is pleasantly smoky, like a campfire that has gone to smolder and not a raging smoke belching fire. There is more than fire to this tea, there is also sweetness with notes of molasses, figs, dates, and a gentle spicy nutmeg and cocoa. At the finish there is a gentle, almost too faint to notice, hint of orchids.
Into my Yancha pot the leaves go, the aroma of the soggy leaves is sharp and mineral, blending wet slate, woody stems, tobacco, and smoke with a tiny hint of cocoa at the finish. The liquid is a sweet blend of cocoa and woody tobacco with a slight hint of nutmeg and char at the finish.
The first steeping is pretty light in both taste and mouthfeel. It starts with a gentle blend of honey and tobacco and moves to char and cocoa with a hint of nutmeg. The finish is a delicate and lingering mineral and light distant flower note that wavers between lily and orchid.
Second steeping time! The aroma is a bit more floral this time, along with woody tobacco and gentle char, also a nice mineral burst at the finish, like dropping water on hot coals. The taste did not change much from the first steep, the main difference is the stronger notes of tobacco and mineral and less sweetness. If I did not know this was a Shui Xian before, I certainly do now!
Third steep, the aroma is woody tobacco and char, with a strong mineral finish and a touch of cocoa. The taste is milder this time around, primarily woody tobacco and char, with cocoa and a strong mineral finish. Wet slate and hot coals linger as the aftertaste. This is a decent Shui Xian, I wish it were a bit more potent or unique, since this is very similar to the much cheaper Sea Dyke brand that I get at my local Asian Market, but if you lack access to a super cheap everday drinker, this is a good option.
Contrary to popular belief, I do still read…a lot, but lately most my reading has been other subjects and when I read a tea book it is more looking for specific info rather than reading through. Time to change that, and I am starting with The Ancient Art of Tea: Wisdom From the Old Chinese Tea Masters by Warren Peltier. Reading the blurb about this book, I admit I was expecting it to be a large scholarly work, I was a bit surprised when I opened my package and found a fairly small book that was not a study on different scholarly works on tea…but more a book of quotes. Ok actually that is not really fair, it is so much more than that.
Not everyone has the head for translating archaic Chinese works, and not everyone likes reading the at times rather dry and dull translations available, so finding an abridged work that has gone through the hard work of translating works into a readable (for a more modern not necessarily academic audience) form and referencing very specific points is extremely useful. The book is organized by thematic sections, like water for tea, ways to heat the tea, tea etiquette, and so forth and these sections are further organized chronologically. This makes straight reading through very easy, and it makes looking for specific things super convenient. And for bonus tea/history/linguistic nerd credit, at the end of the book is all the texts that were translated in their original form, so you can practice your translation or copy it for calligraphy practice, tea room decor time!
The subject matter is extremely fascinating, from both a history and a tea stand, it is wonderful seeing how the philosophy behind tea, its preparation, and its enjoyment changed through the different dynasties. The parts I found most interesting were the sections of water and etiquette, specifically I really enjoyed the list of waters ranked from best to worst, and that it was not necessarily based on taste. For example, in the ranking of water, snow comes in last and not because it tastes rank but because the cold Qi is thought to be harmful, which makes me wonder if I can use it to help with inflammation, similar to drinking cooling teas when I am sick or during the summer.
As you can tell I like this book, it is short and sweet and light on art, but in this case the lack of pictures did not really bother me, I highly recommend reading if you are wanting more information on how tea was prepared throughout Chinese history and how the different dynasty’s looked at it culturally.
For blog and random pretty tea photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-ancient-art-of-tea-wisdom-from-old.html
Happy first day of 2016! My tea themed resolutions for this year involve creating a pumidor (I have a few ideas on how to do it with limited space) explore as many types of Dancong Oolongs as possible, get some work done on my much neglected tea book, and lastly keep my stash of tea more organized. Pretty much all doable things, even if I failed at celebrating New Years by going to be before midnight. I will just have to make up for it by partying really hard for Chinese New Year, but I always do!
Today we are looking at a tea from Joy’s Teaspoon, Milk Oolong! There are two different kinds of Milk Oolong, ones that are naturally creamy and ones that are scented/flavored, both are exciting in their own way, this one is in the scented/flavored department. As much as I love my straight Jin Xuan, having a well flavored Milk Oolong is like having a bowl of ice cream, not something I want everyday, but when I am craving it watch out. The aroma of the leaves is all sorts of whoa, this tea smells like dessert. Notes of vanilla ice cream, sweet cream, coconut milk, gentle distant honeysuckles, and a finish of sesame custard. Fun fact, sesame custard in Japan is known as Kuro Goma Purin and made from black sesames…since I cannot for the life of me find black sesames (which are a bit earthier than regular golden ones) I made the custard out of toasted regular ol’ sesame seeds. I am telling you this because that is what it smells like.
Gaiwan time for the leaves, and now my tea area smells like an ice cream shop. Let’s just say I was not surprised by the hovering cats and a hovering Ben, because the aroma really permeated the area. Notes of sweet vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and sesame custard rise out of the leaves, and the liquid is much the same but with a nice addition of honeysuckles and a touch of vegetation.
From the first sip the ice cream comparison is still solid (note to self, come summer time cold steep this tea) it starts with a creamy mouth feel that goes very well with the creamy sweet taste. Yes, this is a sweet tea, strong notes of sugar cane and vanilla ice cream and a finish of sesame seed custard and lingering sweetness.
Second steep time, and the aroma is still going strong with note of ice cream. Along side the ice cream sweetness is honeysuckle, sesame custard, and a bit of vegetation, which mellows out the sweetness a bit. The taste is very similar to the first steep, a little less sweet but still just as rich with strong notes of vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and sesame custard. On a whim I let this cup chill a bit (ok I got distracted) and wow, super sweet when cold…good to know.
Third steep, the aroma is still very creamy and sweet, but with stronger notes of honeysuckle and vegetation, the under Jin Xuan shining through. This steeping is still very creamy and sweet, notes of mineral and vegetation blend well with the sesame custard and a very distinct note of toasted coconut, reminding me a bit of coconut custard pie, yum! Like with ice cream, this is not a tea I can indulge in all the time, but it makes a wonderful treat when I am in the mood for a decadent pile of creamy goodness.
Thank my lucky stars, my camera is back and functioning again. Sadly I do have several teas where my only option was to photograph them with my phone, but it is not terrible, just not what I prefer. On a completely unrelated note, Ben challenged me to build Neuschwanstein Castle in Minecraft…ughhh that will be an undertaking. My sky castle is vaguely inspired by it, since it is my favorite castle and that little bit of Bavarian history has been a favorite area of study of mine since I was a youngin’ so you know, why not? It is not like I get tired of ridiculously huge builds or anything.
Shortly before Christmas, new to me company Xin Mu Cha contacted me to review some of their teas, this excited me immensely because they specialize in Taiwanese teas, yes, it is well known I get excited over teas from Taiwan at this point, they were my first love and have stayed at the forefront of my attention since I was a teenager. Today’s tea is Nonpareil Taiwan LaLa Shan Oolong, a green Oolong from not often talked about LaLa Shan in northern Taiwan, and let me tell you, LaLa Shan is gorgeous! From what I can tell (and I might be wrong on this one) LaLa Shan is similar to Da Yu Ling where the majority of the area is a nature preserve and there are only a few tea farms high in the mountains. From the moment I opened the little vacuum sealed pouch I was greeted with a powerfully aromatic tea. Notes of creamy custard and sesame seeds dance with cane sugar and snap peas, with an accompaniment of yeasty sweet cake batter and spring flowers.
Gaiwan time, at first I was torn between brewing this tea in a gaiwan or my XiShi, but I really wanted to see the leaves unfurl, glad I did too because there were some real beauties in this leaf pile. The aroma of the wet and slowly unfurling leaves is a powerhouse of floral, strong notes of iris, hyacinth, narcissus, dianthus, and lotus. The blend of flowers with notes of creaminess and vanilla give it a slight baby powder aroma which I found quite fascinating, it was heady and very sweet. The liquid of the first steep is sweet! Notes of honey and creamy custard blend with lots of heady floral notes, lilac, hyacinth, and dianthus with a touch of honeysuckle and a yeasty sweetness at the finish. Very spring bouquet tea going on here.
First steep is surprisingly thick on the mouthfeel, it is buttery and heavy, I feel as though I am sinking into a warm pile of flower petals. I think that is why I love these floral oolongs, they are vaguely intoxicating, much like being in a hot house full of full bloom flowers but I get to drink it in rather than just smell it. Yes, this tea is sweet and creamy, but it is very floral, strong notes of hyacinth and dianthus with a slight hint of sassafras flowers and lotus. The finish is a blend of sesame seeds and snap peas adding a touch of green to the sweet headiness.
Second steeping’s aroma is intensely heady, strong notes of lilac, dianthus, and hyacinth dance out of my cup. Tasting this tea is quite enjoyable, it starts with a thick and creamy mouthfeel and finishes with a slight dryness. The flavor begins with a strong yet delicate blend of floral notes, it is heady without overpowering with notes of hyacinth, dianthus, and lilac with accompanying notes of lotus, again it vaguely reminds me of baby powder, but you know, without soap or perfume. The finish blends sugar cane and snap peas with lingering sweetness that lasts into the aftertaste.
Third steep, the aroma is still very floral and heady, but with the previous notes of lilac and hyacinth, there are also notes of orchid and freshly broken vegetation. It smells like springtime. This steeping has much stronger green notes, fresh vegetation mix with snap peas and sugar cane. There is still a good bit of floral as well, specifically hyacinth and lilac, but it has become more balanced with green notes. The aftertaste is sugar cane and it lingers for quite a while. I pulled several more steeps out of this tea, it transitioned to green before finishing with mineral sweetness.