So glad I followed up on this one. Used my usual concentration in the same teapot and pretty much the same parameters as last time.
9g with 110ml water in zhu ni rong tian. Single rinse had 10 second contact including the just-shy-of 10 second pour using 88 degree C water. Infusions progressed (tack 10 seconds onto these for total contact time): 20sec-87C, 25sec-86C, 30sec-85C, 35sec-84C, 45sec-84C, 45sec-87C, 50sec-87C, 55sec-86C, 60sec-85C, 120sec-88C, 160sec-87C.
Still not great body for what I like, but much better than last time and more in balance with the levels of flavor and astringency (which gently coats the middle of the tongue rather than attacking just one region). Aroma more full and sort of like cinnamon French toast made with sourdough, with the spice, grain, egg, and slightly charry edge in nice balance. Most importantly, this time ‘round the warm aromatics are very nicely coupled with the crisp herbaceous, somewhat nutty and burnt wood flavor. Peanut shell, river rock, rice, and dry grass in aftertaste. Reminds me of chewing on a long piece of hay or stalk from flowering grass. Aroma is nice and heady with qualities evoking chocolate and a bit of coffee but not smelling like either… an ambiguous warming roasty-sweetness they all share. I get the same quality from pie in an oven that’s just on the verge of being overdone. Another not-there aroma and flavor is a peach similarity like exhaling after smelling a peach cobbler. Not fruity, but related to the heady ripe sweet-spiciness from cooked peaches buried in baked crust. Appears in aroma, aftertaste, and nose but not in your face at all like in other oolongs. Astringency isn’t nearly as medicinal as the crushed aspirin astringency I get in heavily roasted DHP, but has similar range and effect with just mellower intensity. Fourth infusion is a little sweet and delicious, with hints of cocoa powder and some florals peeking out. From the sixth infusion on a distinct toasted-rice sweet crisp taste is incorporated into the flavor. Liquor much richer yellow-orange than last round, taking on a bit more red through the fourth-sixth brews and on the eleventh it has an unbelievable (as in it’s really pretty but it looks almost fake) clear amber color with the luster of a jewel made of it.
Much happier with this round. Very satisfying with warming aroma and refreshing flavor working really well on a warm day. Really comforting by the 6th infusion. Makes me want cobbler with caramel though this goes really really well alongside extra sour sourdough bread.
Lesson learned about this tea – either go with the vendor’s recommended 3-5g per 175-230ml for 2 minutes at 90 degrees C or go all out for gongfu preparation. The middle gound is more difficult to pull off successfully.