24 Tasting Notes
Other high end vendors have Ba Xian as (very expensive) single bush Dan Cong tea (from Phoenix mountain in Guan Dong province). Seven Cups describes the taste of this tea as “similar to Dan Cong,” but it is a Wu Yi tea or Yancha. I assume it’s the same varietal moved to a different location, but would appreciate any more info.
First tasting: Leaves fill 2/3 of my favorite Yancha pot. 185° to 190° water and steep 30 to 40 seconds. This yields a seriously good cup with immediate floral scents and the first taste of stone fruit — apricots maybe, but subtle. Lots of minerals, but no bitterness even this strong. After first impression, spices and mild roast tastes emerge. The tea seems highly oxidized to me — no green tastes — and lightly roasted.
Seven Cups is having a sale that makes this tea an insanely good deal! I believe this would be a great everyday tea for oolong lovers.
This tea rewards attention with a complex layering and swirling of the mild roastedness and floral tastes. Leaves are tightly rolled. One teaspoon+ in a 175ml dragon egg pot (the leaves will eventually expand to pack that pot). Heat the pot first and sniff the vanilla aroma from the hot dry leaves. Now water 180-185º. After rinse, I let the first infusion go for 45-50 seconds to give the leaves time to unfold. Spice and bright flowers in the first infusion. Leaves still tight. Second infusion 30 seconds. A nutty creaminess starts to emerge and appears to float between toasty spice and floral tastes. Still bright but maybe slightly sweet vanilla-almond. Am I dreaming? Sniff the empty cup for a pleasantly pungent herbal aroma clinging to the bottom — sassafras? Long lasting tea; even the last cups, steeped more than two minutes, are sweet. The finished leaves reveal the quality of the tea’s making by hand — whole leaves with stems still intact. Teaddict gives alternate steep times, which should be tried. But even my longer times yield no bitterness. There’s a lot to appreciate here.
This is a weird and wonderful tea that doesn’t know whether it’s a green tea or an oolong. When I first opened the package of this tea, the aroma was so floral I thought it might even be a single bush tea from Guangzhou. Out of habit I brewed it like a heavier roasted oolong (fish eyes 185º or more) and by mistake, left it a bit too long (pot 2/3 full of leaves, 2+ mins). Happy accident! I got a nutty, almondy taste and a wonderfully pleasant back-of-the-throat astringency. Next infusion, cooler, shorter, and I think I smell the eponymous plum blossoms, again reminders of Dan Cong but much lighter. I think I prefer the oolong type brew: raw almonds and pea shoots and subtle floral elements are in the cup as much as aromatic; it delivers in its taste what some green teas only promise in their smell. The dry rolls of leaves are very long and surprisingly dark with silver bits, but the tea has a beautiful pale color brewed and full mouth feel for such a light tea. I believe TGY and Alishan drinkers, as well as green tea drinkers will find this tea a real treat. I usually don’t find green teas this interesting. Oh wait, this is an oolong!
I make this by filling a 120ml pot about 2/3 full of tea leaves, then I use water at fish eyes and first infusions very fast, a minute or less. I get the most amazing floral aroma and the taste of peaches or nectarines. I actually get giddy drinking this tea it is so good. Imen’s teas are expensive but well worth the investment. I’ve tried 8 immortals Ba Xian teas from other vendors and they can’t rise to this level. Highly recommended.