This is another from my second batch of samples from Teavivre (many thanks!) I was feeling a little Western Gong Fu-ish today, so steeped some up while watching the beau play Uncharted 2 with my brother – I LOVE that we can play games with my family even though we live a couple hundred KMs apart. It is a lovely way to spend the weekend, especially now that we have a headset and can talk the whole time – the internet is a wonderful thing!
Anyway, I’m using my gaiwan and wee double walled teacups, so these are small steeps (maybe 2 oz liquid for each of us per steep?) I am not terribly familiar with oolongs, but I have tried a couple Tie Guan Yin in the past and generally know what I think of them. I tried the regular TGY from Teavivre in my first batch of samples and enjoyed it so thought the honey soaked one could only be better (I love honey! IF I sweeten a tea, it is my preferred sweetener.)
First steep – 80 degrees, 30 seconds. The liquor is not as clear as a typical oolong, though it is a warm yellow shade, almost like sunset with a hint of ochre. The brew smells quite vegetal (a bit more than I might prefer) but there is a hint of sweetness in the aroma which I prefer. The leaves have barely unfurled at all! The taste is very different from the smell – I get sweetness from the honey and typical oolong taste underneath. VERY pleasant, if a bit mild.
Second steep – 85 degrees, 35 seconds. The leaves have opened a bit more, but not nearly at full leaf yet. This steep is not as powerfully sweet from the honey (I assume most of it will dissolve in the first couple steeps) but neither is it a very powerful TGY. Another nice steep, but a bit muted. The beau says this steep tastes more of oolong.
Third Steep – 85 degrees, 45 seconds. Leaves are almost entirely opened now and I imagine most of the honey to have dissolved. This is a bit more vegetal than the first two and the sweetness is more in the aftertaste, like a taste memory. This steep really shows the quality of the TGY underneath the honey and I like it! The beau says this is definitely the best steep and I would tend to agree with him.
Fourth Steep – 85 degrees, 1 minute. This will be my last, as it is getting warm in our apartment as the sun comes out and I hate feeling too hot! The aroma has lost all sweetness and has a bitter/vegetal smell, but the taste is not as powerful as the aroma would have me believe. There is still a bit of honey sweetness underneath the sip and lingering in the aftertaste.
While this could easily go a couple more rounds, I need a timeout for some cold water. This was a lovely experience, I think I might even prefer this to the ‘regular’ TGY. If nothing else, it is a nice change from the usual. The third steep in particular was really nice and balanced the honey and oolong the best. Thanks again Teavivre for a lovely treat!