24 Tasting Notes
Had a much better time with this tea today. I kicked up the leaf amount to my typical yancha ~10g, about 1/3 full gaiwan. I think I simply didn’t use enough leaf with my first brew, it’s the only explanation I have. This time the tea was bursting with flavor as I sipped, mellowing out a little bit after initially hitting my tongue. The flavors really lingered in my mouth, demanding a noticeably longer amount of time between subsequent sips. The first infusions were pretty complex and hard to decipher, but the later infusions yielded a more typical mineral / nuttiness. The flavors are still lingering as I write this review, 5 infusions in at this point and still going strong.
First time brewing Dong Ding. I’m not convinced I was able to coax the full potential out of this tea, only time will tell. As it stands I’m about 50/50 on this one, I just couldn’t get that into it. The first couple infusions were very intensely roasty and almost intolerable for me, tasting mostly like burnt watered down coffee, with just a hint of underlying leaf with just a hint of a pleasant caramel coming through. I preferred the later infusions (4+) which yielded a much more balanced cup. I made it through 6 infusions before I had to give up (due mostly to liquid overload) but this tea could have definitely kept going. I might opt for a longer rinse next time to flush out more of the unpleasant flavors of the early infusions. I think dong ding might just be a little too much for me, but I felt the same way the first half a dozen times I tried Lapsang Souchong, so your mileage may vary.
It’s also worth noting that like all the other teas I’ve tried from Chan Teas, the leaf quality is great, with nice large and intact leaves. Being ball rolled this has some amazing expansion properties too!
This tea is like a magic trick! I brewed it gong fu style, and even trying to take into account the leaf expansion I still ended up with a hilariously overflowing gaiwan by the end of the 3rd infusion. That’s not the only trick to the tea though, because the real the trick is in the way it changes from the front of your mouth to the back of your throat, and the way it changes from the first infusion to the later infusions. There is immediately delicate floral (not overpowering) tastes toward the front of the mouth, but gains a deepness as it hits the middle/back of the tongue. In later infusions the less oxidized portion of the leaf opens up and starts coming through, yielding a much greener flavor AND slight astringency which makes sense though I wasn’t expecting it. Overall a really enjoyable tie guan yin and enjoyable tea! I suspect that I’ll favor the mild oxidation to the light oxidation which I have a sample of, but I’m excited to try it and if I’m feeling super ambitious/nerdy maybe I’ll try a double brew to A/B test them and really pick out what the change in oxidation is effecting. Into the 5th infusion, and still going.
I should also add that it’s a pretty good value at 100g for $18, just finished my 7th infusion and it’s still producing a decent cup!
My first excursion into Da Hong Pao. I brewed this pretty light, with a slightly higher ratio of water to leaf then I would normally use. The first infusion is hard to recall because of how much the tastes have changed. It had a lot of “roasty” flavors, a little more reminiscent of my favorite (so far) rock tea Tie Luo Han than say a more floral oolong. By the second infusion I was surprised to see that this took a huge backseat to, as Rishi says in the description, a “uniquely complex floral” flavor. The 2nd and greater infusions were much more delicate than I was expecting, but re-reading the Rishi description I see now that this is a less oxidized version of Da Hong Pao, so I guess it makes sense. I suspect I would be more immediately attracted to a higher oxidized lot, but only time will tell. By the 3rd infusion I started really feeling the after taste with a creeping sensation in the back of the throat, more so with this tea than any other I’ve ever tried. I’m going in for the 4th infusion momentarily! Next time I try this I’ll go more gong fu and use a lot more leaf. Right now I’d say this tea is super enjoyable, but I don’t see myself craving it daily. It is a bit pricey at $35 for 50g, if I were to brew this the way I brew my Tie Lou Han (~10g for a session gong fu style) it would put me at about $7 per session, which isn’t terrible considering you’re getting many infusions, but since I frequently brew alone it’s hard to justify a $7 session on a regular basis. I’ll report back when I try this again.
I was a little unsure of this tea since I ordered it from eBay, but I’d just had my first taste of Tie Luo Han from a sample packet I got when ordering from Chan Teas (http://chanteas.com) and I was ordering a teapot from Dragon Tea House, so I decided to just go for it.
This tea is actually pretty decent for the price, it does have a similar character to the Chan Teas offering but didn’t quite live up to my expectations, so I have some more from Chan Teas on order. If there is one thing I’ve learned about oolongs so far it’s that I’m not really into the floral stuff, so I definitely appreciate the deeper taste of the rock teas I’ve tried so far. This one definitely has some flowery overtones, particularly in the earlier infusions, but it’s not overboard. The later infusions bring a taste almost like a peanut shell.
I’m able to get at least 6 good infusions out of this brewing gong fu style.
I think the price per gram for this tea is a great value, especially considering the amount of infusions you get out of it. I use between 8-12grams in an ~120ml guiwan or yixing. One quick rinse then onto the first infusion, about 10 seconds, depending on my desired strength. I like to drink this one light and intense, so I’ll increase the time as necessary. Drinking more intense cups in succession can definitely lead to a numbing mouthfeel and tea drunkenness, you have been warned! Sometimes I can coax out some really nice fruity flavors!