Thank you very much to Fong Mong Tea for the generous samples that arrived yesterday. I have been wanting to try more Taiwanese teas for awhile. In fact it was an Oriental Beauty that opened my eyes to the greater tea world and led me to Steepster, so it seems appropriate that I start with this. These leaves are a bit more varied than the other version of this tea I’ve tried. While the silver buds are slender and twisty, the bronze leaves are broader and while most are long and whole, there are some smaller and broken bits mixed in.
The smell is so lovely and familiar, yet hard to pinpoint. My mouth is greeted by a similar welcoming warmth, like embracing an old friend. This is woodsy, a soft fragrant wood, with a dusting of… powdered sugar? Yes, mmm. Later in this cup is the most subtle hint of fruit, like licking a grapevine.
Second infusion: hello flavor! There is a fleeting sweetness like cocoa powder, but it is gone in an instant. Oh, this is quite muscatel, but I so prefer it to Darjeeling. Mmm grape leaves now.
Third infusion: more herbaceous, like Shou Mei. And the next five infusions are pretty consistent with this, even though I increased the steep time by 15 secs up to 2 mins. I brewed this session in a makeshift gaiwan (curvy mug with a lid that I only used the bottom 4-5oz of) with 3 grams of leaf starting at 5 secs.
Today I brewed the other half of my sample, starting at 3 mins and increasing by a min for a total of four sessions. This tea definitely does better with more time and higher temperatures, but still never gets very strong or buttery and still reminds me more of Darjeeling and Shu Mei. Not quite what I was looking for, but lovely all the same, thank you! I may eventually order the Top Grade.