81

I’ve had this tea many times and the honey fragrance has always been there but never really stood out to me over other characteristics. This time, I used more leaf and was rewarded with more honey in not just the fragrance, but in the aroma, nose, afteraroma, and flavor as well.

8g with 150ml water in a zi ni rong tian yixing teapot dedicated to Phoenix Oolongs. Single rinse with immediate pour – 10 second contact time. Multiple infusions in rapid succession using 85 degree C water.

Beautiful long, dark, twisted leaves with stripes of yellow, mossy green, deep red-violet, gold, and dark sienna on an umber brown background. Average length is over an inch in twisted, dry form. Fragrance is toasty, sharply nutty (pecans, filberts, and chopped almonds), and while not sweet smelling it leaves a sweet impression within the sinuses. Wet leaves are much lighter green like iris leaves with olive leaf dark patches, though the light yellow stripes are retained. More clove and honey in wet leaf aroma with antique wood cupboard sharp, slightly musty note and a hint of tobacco leaves. Clear, yellow liquor has mild but thick, soothing sweet aroma – more nectar-like than honey… Ripe nectarine or honeysuckle and a baked bread aroma like ripping open a fresh wheat roll. Tropical flower aromas flit in and out as well. Very much like the aroma of a greenhouse.

Smooth up front with a bit of astringency in the throat as the flavor recedes. Honey on wheat toast aroma. Lightly sweet and mouthwatering. Myriad of fleeting flavor notes pop in and out with each sip. Peach pit tang is dominant and potent when slurped yet mixed evenly in a balanced, delicate flavor melange when taken as a draught. Ginger-like umami. Really warming from the head all the way through the belly. Spice notes include practically every spice I have in my cupboard and every herb I’ve grown but clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, star anise, thyme, and basil are the first to really make an impression. Ginger flower, sorrel, rosemary, orchid, chocolate-mint flower, and amaryllis florals present in nose and many reappear for aftertaste. Gives my breath a sweet and vaporous feel for a long time. While not an actual flavor or aroma, the combinations of tastes, sensations, and aromas produce an effect reminiscent of honey in warm cream. Makes me think of buttered cinnamon French toast with agave nectar or lavender honey drizzled over it. Roughly 2-3 minutes after drinking, a second (or is it third or fourth?) aftertaste comes out of nowhere with more of those wheat toast and crystallized honey flavors.
Seeeerious lasting capability. I’m falling asleep before the tea is and really running out of capacity in my stomach. Not declining at the 12th infusion, where I typically start wrapping this up at when I use just a little more than half this strength.

Mild in flavor but rich in expression and a sort of thick-air quality emanates from this tea (even greater in the mouth and when swallowing). Many different flavors and aromas. Not the most complex, but more so than the vast majority of teas out there. It seems to take a slight step down in intensity and expression compared to some other Phoenix Oolongs as a tradeoff for comforting feeling. This is one of those teas that can produce a bit of a “tea drunk” feeling and sure helps promote the idea of curling up and falling asleep… Toasty, warm and sweet… Definitely a comforter.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Bio

Tea Geek.

My focus is on Chinese Wulongs and Pu’er but I’m all over the place. I tend to follow a seasonal progression of teas, following the freshness curve of greens through summer and rounding the cooler months out with toastier teas and Masala Chai.
With the exception of Masala Chai milk tea I’m a purist at heart. While I was originally snagged by Earl Grey with bergamot and make blends for gifts, I very rarely go for scented teas or herbals and can’t remember the last time I bought a tea that was blended. Pure tea is just more interesting to me than the product of mixing flavors. I do understand and appreciate their existence, though.

I upload some blends I make or special prep teas I nab under the company name “Green Raven Tea and Coffee” and the vast majority of these posts will be blends crafted to create flavors/characteristics not inherent in any one particular tea.
I’ve worked as a tea buyer for a smallish cafe and try to keep apprized of shifts in offerings even when not selecting for a business so I wind up sampling a ton of wholesale samples from a couple companies in particular but try to branch out to as many companies as I can find. Until Steepster integrates some form of comparative tasting feature, none of my cupping notes will make it onto my reviews unless wrapped up into something I feel compelled to drink multiple times on its own.



Since all the cool kids are doing it, here’s my big fat ratings scheme:

0-12…..Ugh, don’t wish on anyone
13-25….Bad, won’t touch again
26-37….Huh, not worth the effort
38-50….Meh, unremarkable
51-62….Okay, good tea
63-75….Tasty, really good tea
76-87….Yum, wonderful
88-100…Wow, really spectacular

There shouldn’t be many postings at all from me ranked 26-50 since unremarkable teas are unlikely to make me remark on ’em but to “earn” a score 37 or below I have to be disappointed to the point where others may ask for a refund or turn down offers even when free or offered as a gift (beyond stale).

I’ve got a ton of respect for anything rated 63 or higher.

For a tea to get 71 or more, it has to be pretty special and kinda blow my socks off.

The 90s are reserved for wonders that make me reevaluate my views of the world of tea as a whole.

Location

Santa Rosa, California, United States

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