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Recent Tasting Notes
I left the kettle on a little too long, so the water was a bit hotter than the recommended temp of 90C. I personally couldn’t taste a difference between that and previous cups with the correct water temp, though. Increased steeping time slightly with each infusion (started around 1min) for 3 infusions.
This tea definitely has the mouth feel that I expect with a milk oolong – very creamy. (Not quite as creamy/milky as the one from DavidsTea, but still pretty pronounced.) It’s also quite vegetal, but I’ve found that can be reduced with shorter steeping times. The recommended steep time is 1.5min, but for my taste, I like it best at just 45s. The reduced steep time tends to give more of the “milkiness” that I like without tasting like I just steamed some spinach in my mug.
Overall, a good milk oolong, but not the best I’ve had.
(Note: Purchased at the Dobra Tea in Burlington, VT.)
Oh the memories! Haricot verts, fresh spring asparagus, sweet corn! A season in a cup. Sweet and toasty on the tongue. The wet leaves smell like the perfume of flowering lilacs, although that doesn’t come through in the infusion except for a delicate aroma. Characteristics of Yunnan Mao Cha definitely are present, but they do not define this tea. It is much more delicate.
Dark stick-like leaves. This tea is loose. Aroma of sweet hay and citrus fruits. A red amber color in the cup. Sweet tasting but with a light body and an amazingly long smooth finish. Reminiscent of some very short-brewed Shu puer of impressive quality. In lower quality Shu bings I have tasted, the flavor is earthy and muddy without much nuance to the aroma other than getting heavier as infusions progress. This tea shares the soft body and comfort to the stomach, but the flavors and aroma are delicious. Not being a brick, I think this will not give many infusions (when compared to similar Puer) but the infusions that exist are very much worth the sacrifice.
Rich, but with a light body. That’s the contradiction of this delicious small-leaf variety. Usually I attribute this sort of rich texture to large leaves like Liu’An Guapian or Tai Ping Hou Kui. And yet these small leaves really soak into the water for a cloudy and mouth-filling infusion. This tea is also fairly tippy, which definitely accounts for its airy body and artichoke green flavor. There’s a hint of dryness in the aftertaste, but the light vegetable flavor stays on the front of the tongue for a while.
Very clear, light gold infusion. The aroma of a much richer and darker black tea, maybe reminiscent of a Chinese Dian Hong (滇红). A gently sweet and soft taste with a hint of dryness in the aftertaste which implies that the lightness of body is inherent and not due to under steeping. Whereas I usually expect a rich body underneath quite a punch of floral flavor from a First Flush Darjeeling, this is much more mellow and it’s a good thing.
Light and a little toasty. The mouth aroma is surprisingly fragrant in the manner of a Gui Hua (osmanthus) green, but there aren’t any flowers in this tea. I did not rinse these leaves before brewing, and as such the second infusion had much more body, but still that mysterious squash-like osmanthus blossom taste. I hesitate to say “floral”, because these florals are nothing like Ali Shan. I can definitely make the connection to a richly aromatic Tie Guan Yin on the third infusion of this tea, but it definitely holds a unique place in itself as I generally expect Tie Guan Yin to be… darker in some way. I really should do a side-by-side some time.
I generally eschew scented or flavored tea, with some notable exceptions. A high quality jasmine pearl green is one such that has followed me even into my relative tea snobbery. The aroma is delicate and not overpowering, but still heady and immediately soothing to my body. Both the leaves and the liquor are in constant supply of aromatics, making the second and third cups as pleasurable as the first. Left to linger in the mouth, the light taste of a vegetal and round green leaf appears just under the jasmine scent. The texture has just a hint of dryness to it, as if to remind me that what I’m drinking is still camellia sinensis and not some ambrosia of flowers. The leaf quality is quite good; I see whole two and three leaf sets once the pearls unroll. Decently sized and hearty, I believe this is a Fujian leaf, but I wonder about the cultivar. The leaves are all of a color when wet but before steeping there were definite steaks of silver among the green.
Oh so happy to see this beauty return. After experiencing Bai Hao in Taipei my whole perspective on the tea was shifted to properly honor this unique treasure. Dobra’s new batch does not disappoint. Not quite as sweet as the tea I found at Hua Tai, but with a delicate honey flavor that soothes the mouth and the stomach. The second infusion was much more round, although still with that light touch in the mouth-feel. I suspect that this is a harvest that is best infused for longer than my customary 1.5 minutes. Next time I’ll try starting off at 2 minutes and moving upward from there.
This year’s Bai Hao is fantastic. the always sweet and robust infusion fills the mouth with a warm glow of flavor. i taste a little bit of cedar and a little bit of vanilla. the leaves are sprinkled with silvery tips that our little buggy friends have created. can’t wait to drink this on a Cha Xi