Walking around in Century City mall, I noticed a small tea shop with a somewhat familiar name. I had visited Lupicia’s website before but I had no idea they had a retail store. I was pretty excited to browse in a mall teashop other than Teavana and quickly looked at their samples (which they have beautifully displayed in small round tins with small samples for you to smell or look at). I quickly looked for their Ti Kuan Yin and upon finding it, I was surprised that the version they offered was what I assume a medium roasted Ti Kuan Yin (I say assume, since in their description it just says the name of the tea and place of origin). I bought their prepackaged foil bag containing 1.76 oz of tea.
This would be my second roasted Ti Kuan Yin I’ve had, the other being from Halcyon Tea. I opened the bag and I could instantly smell an intense sweet toasty aroma, very pleasing. You could tell this tea had been roasted, but unlike most roasted teas with a darker brown, this one was definitely greener in color.
I prepared this tea using a gaiwan and following the instructions of using near-boiling water and 45 seconds to 1 minute steep time. The suggested guidelines on the bag were pretty detailed and even gave the approximate amount of cups you’ll be able to brew with one teaspoon (4-5).
My first brew gave me a light brown cup with a subtle sweet floral aroma. The tea itself was honey-like sweet, slightly creamy, and a little toasty with some floral undertones. My second cup, perhaps my favorite, had a fainter toasty taste with a nice sweetness and a surprising intense fresh aftertaste. The third cup had a fainter aroma, remained sweet and fresh, no toasty hint, and with floral notes a bit more pronounced, but with the aftertaste not as intense. In The fourth cup, most of the flavors remained there but fainter. Aroma was almost gone and the aftertaste was just a small hint. By the fifth cup, there was no aroma, tea began to have a slightly green hint in flavor, and most other flavors just became hints of what they had been. The tea remained slightly creamy to the end though. Instead of re-brewing this tea to the 7th steep as I usually do for my Ti Kuan Yin’s I decided to end it in the 5th, as you could tell flavor was fading starting from the 4th cup.
The wet leaf was mostly well preserved, with extremely large leaves , some broken pieces and few stems. The leaves had a nice earthy green color, like leaves of an old tree.
Since this is just my second “roasted” Ti Kuan Yin, I still don’t know exactly what to expect from them. So far the two samples I’ve had have been delicious and very different experiences. I enjoyed this tea a lot, especially since the taste was a nice middle ground between green and longer roasted oolongs. I could still taste the floral notes and have that delicious sweetness most roasted oolongs have. The fresh aftertaste really surprised me and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It was something I wasn’t expecting from this kind of oolong. Overall, I liked this version of Ti Kuan Yin a lot, nice and toasty with a nice subtle complexity.