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Recent Tasting Notes
While brewing in the cup this smells like hot rocks/minerals, also vegetal (boiled greens), maybe even like roasted butter? Some floral aroma is in the background. The taste I am getting is basically the same, with the vegetal scents coming through in the fore-front. I have had green teas before that had a buttery taste to them that I am fond of, but this is the first time I have tasted similar notes in an oolong. There is also a slight honeyesque sweetness I am getting on finish. Pretty complex. I like it.
This is a tea I’d wanted to try for a while, and I was lucky enough to get a sample from Nicole_Martin at the NYC meetup on Friday. The tea is very delicate, but what flavor there is is really lovely. It’s a bit sweet, faintly creamy, and nutty. There’s not much in the way of vegetal notes. This could be a good green for people who don’t generally enjoy green teas, I think, since it’s so gentle. I’d like to get my hands on some more of this – when I do, I think I’ll try brewing with a significantly higher leaf/water ratio (this time I used about 1.5 tsp/8 oz. water) since I’d like to see the flavors pop just a little bit more.
I’ve tried this type of oolong twice before, both from TeaSpring and with a couple of years in between. The first time I thought it was wonderful so a few years later I bought it again and was faced with abject disappointment, because I really didn’t care for it any more. I believe I ended up giving the rest of it away. Recently(ish) this type of oolong had a lot of enthusiastic reviews on Steepster, in many cases this one from Teavivre in particular, so as I was putting in an order anyway, I figured I would try a sample of it. Even better, because my order reaching the price that it did, my sample was free. Ha! Win.
The leaves have a peculiar aroma because they don’t smell like an oolong at all. They smell like a black tea. I can’t actually pick much out in the way of notes, other than that high-grown-ish tobacco-y one, which was rather far from what I’d expected to find in an oolong. Try as I might I couldn’t actually find any of the notes I normally associate with oolong at all.
After steeping it’s more oolong-y and slightly floral and wooden. It’s less perplexing now and even has a faint note of fruit somewhere in there. Something peach-y, I think, but I might be influenced by the fact that I remember at one point reading about this particular type of oolong being characterised by having a note of peach. So I might be picking up some peach.
The flavour is very floral, which is a little unfortunate because I don’t much care for floral. It often comes off as a bit soapy or perfume-y to me. Oh well. Looks like the second time was I tried this type of oolong was not a fluke. Neither, mind you, do I think my first go with it was, but it was during a time where I also greatly enjoyed Darjeeling. My tastes simply changed in between the first and second time. And clearly they haven’t changed back yet. When I start drinking Darj by the liter, I’ll know to try this type of oolong again as well.
Anyway, apart from the floral notes, there’s definitely a note of fruit now, and it’s not something I’m imagining this time. It’s definitely there and it’s quite strong once you get through all the flowers. Again, I’m thinking a juicy peach. There are also some notes of wood and a slight hint of grass.
Well, the floral aspect rather put me off, so I’m glad I just got me a test sample. For someone who enjoys high grown teas, I imagine this would be excellent. For me… Well, I prefer something darker and earthy.
I tried brewing this two different ways today, in a porcelain gaiwan and a terracotta clay teapot; I’ve always found a bitter taste to (most) oolongs, and a friend suggested I try brewing them in clay to reduce that, which I think works, but I’ve not tested side-by-side with the same tea ’til now.
3g-4g in a gaiwan using 95C water at about 30 seconds per steep. I re-infused the leaves about five times, and both my housemate and I tasted the liquor of each infusion. He found it pleasant, mild and sweetly vegetal; I found it mouth-puckeringly, nose-wrinkling bitter, and getting worse with each infusion until I couldn’t drink any more of it.
7g in 500ml of 95C water in a terracotta clay teapot, 5-minute steeps for 3 infusions. Again, my housemate and I shared the liquor. This time we both found it mildly grassy with a pleasant sweetness, a faint earthy undertone, and a slightly spicy aftertaste. The final infusion was brighter and milder than earlier steeps, and it had lost the earthy undertone entirely.
I’m rating this tea on my clay-brewed experience of it because the extreme bitterness is something I seem to get with a lot of porcelain/glass brewed oolongs, and which most people don’t seem to find (or at least not to the same extent).
Brewed to my own peculiar tastes, this is an oolong I’d drink day-to-day; it’s not astonishingly captivating, but it’s nicely refreshing with mild flavours.
I drank this yesterday – about 7g brewed in 500ml of water at 95C in an unglazed terracotta clay teapot for 5 minutes per infusion for 3 infusions. The teapot has a little stand with a tealight to keep the tea hot so that I can sip it all day long; I was expecting, but didn’t find, that standing candle-warmed for an hour or two significantly altered the flavour – it deepened and softened it a little, but I found that quite enjoyable.
I usually use a gaiwan or glass jug to brew my teas, but a friend suggested using clay for oolongs because I get a very bitter taste with a lot of them (though looking at the other reviews here, bitterness doesn’t seem to be an issue with this tea, so I might try brewing it in a gaiwan the next time I drink it).
With so much water, even with fairly long steeping times, I was expecting this to be quite weak, but even on the third infusion it had a delicate but full flavour, floral with a vanilla-ish hint, and a rich, sweet and quite heavy scent.
A subtle but nicely flavoured tea that’s very pleasant.