1018 Tasting Notes

97

This was another of my sipdowns from early in the current year. I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this tea when I set out to work my way through what I had of it. I was not all that familiar with Xiong Di Zai (I’m still not), and I had been a bit perplexed by the spring 2017 version of this offering when I tried it around two years prior. I was expecting a challenging, complex tea that offered hit or miss drinking experiences, but I didn’t get that. I found this to be a very pleasant, soothing tea, one that was far smoother and more approachable than anticipated.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a standard 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of roasted almond, plum, pomegranate, vanilla, and nutmeg that were underscored by a much fainter baked bread scent. After the rinse, I discovered new aromas of grass, cannabis, candied orange, and orchid. The first infusion then introduced aromas of violet, wood, and sugarcane. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of grass, cream, roasted almond, orchid, candied orange, pomegranate, violet, and wood that were chased by hints of sugarcane, cherry, baked bread, vanilla, nutmeg, butter, peach, plum, and cannabis. The majority of the subsequent infusions gradually added aromas of peach, nectarine, butter, steamed milk, butterscotch, pear, coriander, white grape, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of butter, cherry, sugarcane, and peach came out in the mouth alongside mineral, orange zest, pear, earth, steamed milk, white grape, coriander, lemon zest, and green apple impressions. I also found hints of cinnamon, nectarine, spinach, and butterscotch. As the tea faded, the liquor continued emphasizing notes of minerals, grass, wood, cream, steamed milk, lemon zest, roasted almond, green apple, pear, and white grape that were deftly balanced by lingering hints of coriander, orange zest, peach, baked bread, spinach, cherry, sugarcane, butterscotch, and vanilla.

This tea should not have worked in theory. It produced a tea liquor that was very buttery, creamy, and milky but also full of tart, acidic fruit notes and pronounced earthy, woody, and vegetal qualities. Somehow everything worked well together and never clashed. That was a marvel considering that the tea’s sweet floral qualities faded quickly. I was expecting this to be one of those teas that wowed me with how well it integrated seemingly sharply contrasting elements before steadily coming unglued, but that never happened. Even as the middle infusions added what should have been increasingly incompatible aroma and flavor components, the tea remained pleasant and balanced. Also, while many Dancongs can turn sharp, slick, and soapy, this one remained smooth, thick, and creamy throughout my time with it. Overall, this was a truly impressive tea. I wish I had gotten around to trying it sooner.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Butterscotch, Candy, Cannabis, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Apple, Lemon Zest, Milk, Mineral, Nectarine, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Pomegranate, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

77

Time to shake off the weekend laziness and get a few more reviews posted from my backlog. This was the last review I logged in my 2020-2021 notebook. I’m almost finished with that one. Then I only have three more notebooks to get through plus the one I’m steadily filling now. My plan is to hit this one hard and finish it and the 2018 notebook up before the end of the month. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, this was one of my sipdowns from early in the year. I basically found it to be a gentle, unfussy black tea. It was nice, but it wasn’t exactly a favorite.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minutes 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of baked bread, earth, smoke, malt, raisin, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, fresh aromas of sugarcane, roasted almond, butter, and roasted peanut emerged. The first infusion introduced a definite brown sugar aroma that was underscored by subtler scents of pine, eucalyptus, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up smooth notes of cream, baked bread, malt, butter, cooked green beans, roasted almond, and dark chocolate that were chased by hints of raisin, earth, roasted peanut, smoke, and sugarcane. The majority of the subsequent infusions brought out aromas of black pepper, cream, vanilla, roasted walnut, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of earth, roasted peanut, raisin, and sugarcane appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of orange zest, minerals, brown sugar, roasted walnut, roasted chestnut, grass, and sweet potato. I also noted hints of vanilla, pine, eucalyptus, black pepper, leather, plum, red apple, and marshmallow. As the tea faded, the liquor continued emphasizing impressions of minerals, cream, butter, roasted almond, roasted walnut, baked bread, brown sugar, and orange zest that were backed up by a mellow melange of grass, sweet potato, vanilla, raisin, cooked green bean, earth, roasted chestnut, and sugarcane hints.

This tea displayed a lot of depth and complexity, and it was very smooth and pleasant in the mouth. At the same time, it was not tremendously captivating due to something of a lack of liveliness and a lack of one or more standout components. While there was nothing wrong with it, there was not anything about this tea that was truly memorable in its own right. I came away wanting to like it more than I did. In some ways, this tea was similar to the Man Gang Village and Yi Wu Mountain black teas that were also offered by Yunnan Sourcing, but I thought it was a little better and more consistent overall.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94

I have a little bit of a lull in the evening and didn’t get as much posted as I wanted when I was on here earlier in the afternoon, so I’m going ahead and posting another review now. Like the four teas I reviewed earlier, this was another of my 2020 sipdowns, but it was from the summer rather than late winter or early spring. I had never tried a Hou Zhong Dancong prior to trying this one, but I found this to be a greatly enjoyable tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, custard, orange blossom, gardenia, orchid, cherry, and nectarine that were underscored by a faint scent of jasmine. Fresh aromas of roasted almond, grass, spinach, and apple blossom appeared after the rinse and were underscored by a subtle cannabis scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of pear, vanilla, longan, and rose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, butter, roasted almond, grass, orchid, orange blossom, pear, apple, and sugarcane that were chased by hints of jasmine, cherry, spinach, longan, nectarine, cucumber, lychee, plum, and rose. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of cucumber, candied pomelo, and fresh apple to the tea’s already impressive bouquet. Stronger and more immediately apparent flavors of cucumber, cherry, spinach, plum, longan, and rose emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, custard, lettuce, coriander, orange zest, and candied pomelo. Hints of vanilla, cannabis, and gardenia were present as well. As the tea faded, the liquor continued emphasizing notes of minerals, roasted almond, grass, butter, cream, orange blossom, sugarcane, pear, apple, rose, and orchid that were backed by a swell of more delicate orange zest, lychee, plum, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, and longan impressions.

This was a very smooth, creamy Dancong oolong that offered tremendous depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth. I found very little to fault with it. It didn’t turn as astringent, bitter, and/or soapy as many Dancong oolongs seem to do, and it retained its wonderful aroma and flavor profiles throughout my review session. A fantastic tea overall!

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Butter, Candy, Cannabis, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Fruity, Gardenias, Grass, Jasmine, Lettuce, Lychee, Mineral, Nectarine, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pear, Plum, Rose, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

We’re keeping the reviews of these Australian teas coming over here. It’s a productive day on Steepster for me. Anyway, goofiness aside, this was the third of the Australian teas I tried last year. Honestly, I know I have stated that the Arakai Spring Premium Green Tea was my favorite, but I think this one was just as good. It had more of a typical green tea profile, but with some of the floral and fruity qualities that made the Spring Premium Green so appealing to me.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 167 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of grass, hay, honey, and straw. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of orchid, lilac, zucchini, and asparagus. The first infusion introduced subtle aromas of baked bread and sugarcane. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, hay, butter, zucchini, straw, asparagus, and chestnut that were balanced by hints of baked bread, sugarcane, honey, orchid, and lilac. The majority of the following infusions added aromas of butter, pear, plum, chestnut, green apple, and carrot as well as a stronger sugarcane aroma and subtle aromas of malt and cream. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of honey and sugarcane came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, spinach, seaweed, summer squash, peas, lemon zest, squash blossom, carrot, pear, plum, malt, cream, and vegetable broth umami. Hints of apricot and green apple were present too. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, hay, straw, malt, zucchini, spinach, cream, butter, peas, and seaweed that were chased by subtler impressions of carrot, baked bread, lemon zest, chestnut, green apple, pear, asparagus, and brothy umami.

This was a more powerful and complex tea than the previous Australian teas I had tried. It was also noticeably more energizing. While the other Australian teas were light and delicate, this one was big bodied, soupy, and thick. To me, it was like a mixture of some of the most appealing traits of some of my favorite green teas from Yunnan, Taiwan, and Japan. Though I did find it occasionally overwhelming, this was still a great green tea. I would love to take a second crack at it in the near future.

Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Baked Bread, Butter, Carrot, Chestnut, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Honey, Lemon Zest, Lilac, Malt, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Peas, Plum, Seaweed, Spinach, Squash, Squash Blossom, Straw, Sugarcane, Umami, Zucchini

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89

Okay, now we’re going from the first Australian tea I ever tried to the second. This was actually the first Australian tea I ever received, though I did not pay for it. It was provided as a free sample with one of my What-Cha orders from either late 2019 or early 2020, and I figured that I may was well order some of the other Australian teas What-Cha was stocking for comparison’s sake. I was impressed by how pleasant and smooth this tea was, though I also noted that it faded very quickly.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse (about 5 seconds), I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, malt, baked bread, blueberry, black raspberry, plum, and red grape. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, butter, and sweet potato. The first infusion added aromas of chocolate and straw. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, straw, cream, butter, baked bread, honey, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of sweet potato, pear, red grape, and plum. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, moss, earth, minerals, and grass. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of pear, plum, and red grape emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of blueberry, black raspberry, earth, minerals, orange zest, lemon zest, moss, grass, red apple, and brown sugar. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, earth, malt, grass, straw, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were chased by fleeting hints of red apple, red grape, baked bread, honey, and brown sugar.

Though this was not the most complex or most durable black tea I have ever tried, it was definitely one of the smoothest and most approachable. It was aromatic and flavorful but also very gentle and did not overwhelm with its energy. While it may have been a slight disappointment immediately after trying the highly unique and memorable Arakai Spring Premium Green Tea, this was still a very high quality offering that was tremendously likable. Had it been a little more complex and not faded quite as quickly, it would have been a true knockout.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cream, Earth, Grapes, Grass, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Raspberry, Red Apple, Straw, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

This was another early 2020 sipdown. It was also the first Australian tea I ever tried. For whatever reason, I had passed on the opportunity to try the teas that What-Cha had been sourcing from Australia in prior orders, but after receiving a free sample of the Australia Arakai Spring Premium black tea with one of my orders, I decided to bite the bullet and order several of What-Cha’s other Australian offerings so I could compare them. I was not expecting much from them, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. This green tea may have been my favorite of the bunch.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, grass, orange blossom, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of malt, corn husk, raisin, fig, prune, and sour cherry. The first infusion introduced aromas of pineapple and mandarin orange. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, hay, cream, corn husk, orchid, malt, honey, and golden raisin that were chased by hints of prune, fig, pear, orange blossom, green apple, mandarin orange, and pineapple. The bulk of the subsequent infusions added aromas of apricot, pear, green apple, spinach, cooked lettuce, plum, and lemon zest to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of pear, mandarin orange, green apple, and pineapple came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, apricot, cooked lettuce, spinach, butter, plum, sour cherry, honeydew, and lemon zest. As the the faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, hay, cooked lettuce, and lemon zest that were chased by lingering hints of apricot, plum, green apple, honey, pear, prune, mandarin orange, cream, golden raisin, honeydew, and corn husk.

It’s always been rare for me to find overwhelmingly fruity green teas, but that was very much the sort of tea this was. Prior to trying this tea, I do not recall ever encountering such a fruity green tea. Though it peaked very quickly and faded just as quickly, this tea was incredibly enjoyable from start to finish. Definitely consider giving it a shot should What-Cha ever stock it again.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cherry, Corn Husk, Cream, Fig, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Malt, Mandarin, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Pineapple, Plum, Prune, Raisins, Spinach

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

After a few rough days, I’m back on here again. Yesterday, my car sprang a coolant leak, so that little electrical issue that I wanted to get taken care of is going to have to wait until I can get the coolant leak fixed. I also spent most of my afternoon cleaning out my dad’s goat barn. What followed was a night of sinus trouble. Oh, and I had a job interview at 8:15 in the morning yesterday. It did not go well. I actually got stopped and yelled at by one of the interviewers. Now, I get the experience of helping my father trim hooves this evening and then get to
work on my car in my driveway with my mechanic. My life is full of joy and wonder. Knowing that my evening is going to be hectic, I’m doing some writing now.

I’m dipping into the vast backlog again for this review. This was one of my sipdowns from either March or April of 2020. I still have a bunch from right around the time the pandemic hit. This was the last of the Jun Chiyabari oolongs that I tried during this time period, and though I found it to be a more or less great tea, it was my least favorite of the three.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 6 fluid ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, custard, cinnamon, vanilla, and baked bread. New aromas of orchid, grass, violet, spinach, and butter appeared along with traces of lilac after the rinse. The first infusion then introduced a dandelion aroma and very subtle orange blossom scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, violet, baked bread, custard, lilac, and grass that were chased by hints of spinach, dandelion greens, sweet corn, cream, butter, orange blossom, pear, and green apple. The bulk of the subsequent infusions added aromas of pear, lychee, plum, orange zest, green apple, almond, minerals, and green wood. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of dandelion greens, cream, butter, sweet corn, pear, and green apple emerged in the mouth with mineral, cinnamon, plum, dandelion, almond, hazelnut, green wood, and orange zest impressions in tow. I also found hints of vanilla, lychee, seaweed, and vegetable broth-like umami. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, cream, orange zest, butter, grass, dandelion, dandelion greens, and green wood that were chased by a swell of pear, green apple, plum, baked bread, brothy umami, violet, hazelnut, almond, orchid, spinach, and seaweed hints that lingered in the mouth and throat.

A very complex and unique Nepalese oolong, I was consistently intrigued by the tea liquor’s wonderful aromatics, texture, and lingering energy. It often suggested specific flavors more than it actually displayed them. I could see people who are into very aromatic oolongs loving this tea, but I could also see people who drink tea primarily for the feel and the lingering afterglow getting a big kick out of it. Personally, I’d be happy to try a future production of this tea, though I tend to be someone who goes a little more for aroma and flavor than for feel.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Grass, Green Apple, Green Wood, Hazelnut, Lilac, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pear, Plum, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
CrowKettle

Oh, I liked this tea! (but I didn’t leave a note myself, um..)

I’m sorry to hear about the sinus trouble and the crummy interview! Kind of sounds like you might’ve dodged a bullet with a work environment where it’s normalized for people to communicate by yelling, but still… unpleasant.

Fascinating stuff with the goats. How many does he have?

eastkyteaguy

He has eight.

ashmanra

Hoping for much better days ahead for you!

mrmopar

Yeah don’t let life get you down my friend.

Martin Bednář

Some days are like that. Terrible is way too nice word.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

76

This was another of my sipdowns from either late 2020 or very early 2021. I also think that this may have been the only pu’erh I tried in the last 12-18 months. I could be wrong, but I do not remember trying any others. Now before I get into the meat of this review, I would like to say that a big part of me kind of doubts that any of this leaf material was actually Banzhang material. I have no way of knowing for certain, and Longyuanhao does seem to be one of the more reliable pu’erh producers, but Banzhang is frequently used with various degrees of duplicitousness as a descriptor for any number of pu’erh teas that may or may not contain any authentic Banzhang material or replicate any of the traits associated with actual Banzhang tea. It should come as no surprise that as Banzhang tea became more valuable, numerous producers started releasing teas they described as Banzhang teas. Most have little if any Banzhang material. I would be shocked if that were not the case with this particular tea. All of the above being said, this was not a bad tea. It did not strike me as being particularly wonderful, but it was a rock solid basic sheng.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, straw, alfalfa, smoke, petrichor, seaweed, and corn husk. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of almond, pickled cabbage, green bell pepper, sesame, sour cherry, and grilled corn. The first infusion added aromas of grass and crabapple. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up flavors of green wood, smoke, corn husk, grass, hay, grilled corn, pickled lettuce, pickled cabbage, seaweed, green bell pepper, and crabapple that quickly gave way to subtler impressions of sour cherry, cream, almond, and petrichor. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals, cedar, chestnut, pine, lemon, and grape leaves. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of sour cherry, cream, and almond emerged in the mouth with impressions of cedar, minerals, chestnut, pear, orange zest, grapefruit, green apple, lemon, pine, grape leaf, alfalfa, and radish in tow. There was also a subtle sesame note that came out here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, green wood, grilled corn, smoke, pickled lettuce, hay, grass, radish, orange zest, lemon, and grape leaf that were chased by lingering hints of chestnut, almond, green bell pepper, sesame, crabapple, cedar, corn husk, and green apple.

This sheng displayed a unique aroma and flavor profile, but unfortunately, I found the tea liquor to be a bit thin and sharp in the mouth. This was basically a bitter, woody, vegetal, and citric tea, and I would have liked to see a bit more sweetness and nuttiness. I think that would have made this tea come across as more balanced. Overall, this was not a bad tea. I just kind of doubt that it was what it was advertised as being and feel that it was missing a few little touches that would have made it more appealing.

Flavors: Alfalfa, Almond, Bitter, Cedar, Cherry, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Fruity, Grapefruit, Grass, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Green Wood, Hay, Lemon, Lettuce, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Petrichor, Pine, Sesame, Smoke, Sour, Vegetal

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

91

This was another sipdown of mine from very early in the year. I tried this tea a month or two after the First Flush Rohini Exotic White Tea, (which I still need to review), so I ended up trying this tea after its higher grade counterpart. I was not as wowed by the Exotic White Tea as I had hoped to be, so I was not expecting much of this tea. As it turned out, I enjoyed it more than its higher grade counterpart.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted peanut, grass, hay, smoke, straw, and sugarcane. Fresh aromas of lemon zest, basil, baked bread, spearmint, and roasted almond emerged after the rinse. The first infusion added aromas of dandelion and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted peanut, roasted almond, cream, baked bread, sugarcane, grass, hay, and vanilla that were backed by hints of violet, dandelion, pear, apple, custard, lemon zest, and straw. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of pear, apple, custard, minerals, vanilla, and white grape. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of violet, apple, straw, dandelion, pear, and lemon zest came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, orange zest, dandelion greens, white grape, spearmint, and basil. I also detected hints of thyme, nutmeg, anise, and smoke. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, dandelion greens, cream, butter, baked bread, orange zest, white grape, and sugarcane that were chased by hints of hay, straw, roasted almond, basil, violet, vanilla, and lemon zest.

This was a very approachable and straightforward Darjeeling white tea with a balanced, likable mix of aromas and flavors. It was also a bit more complex and slightly more robustly bodied and textured than anticipated. It was a high quality offering overall. I had no real complaints with it.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apple, Baked Bread, Basil, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Grass, Hay, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Smoke, Spearmint, Straw, Sugarcane, Thyme, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

This was one of my sipdowns from early in the year. I actually forgot that I had this tea in my cupboard and only got around to trying it shortly before its 36 month best by date expired. Fortunately, the tea was still vibrant in the mouth and seemed to have lost little of anything in extended storage. I greatly enjoy Ya Shi Xiang, so I would have been angry with myself if this tea had ended up being stale.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted almond, orchid, orange blossom, cherry, vanilla, cream, and custard. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of smoke and cannabis. The first infusion introduced aromas of coriander, cooked lettuce, grass, and pomegranate. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, roasted almond, orange blossom, orchid, and butter that were chased by hints of custard, vanilla, baked bread, lychee, pomegranate, coriander, grass, cooked lettuce, pear, cannabis, and smoke. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals, earth, orange zest, plum, peach, steamed milk, lychee, spinach, violet, and green wood. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of custard, vanilla, baked bread, grass, cooked lettuce, pear, and lychee emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of orange zest, honey, oats, peach, plum, caraway, violet, steamed milk, sugarcane, cherry, and green wood. Hints of earth, apple, cattail shoots, and spinach also appeared. As the tea faded, the liquor continued emphasizing notes of minerals, cream, butter, steamed milk, grass, pear, orange zest, sugarcane, green wood, and roasted almond that were chased by a swell of subtler, more delicate notes of custard, vanilla, cooked lettuce, plum, apple, lychee, coriander, orchid, orange blossom, honey, earth, spinach, and cherry.

This Ya Shi Xiang displayed good complexity and balance on the nose and in the mouth and produced a liquor with good body and great texture, but it was not the most vibrant or consistently engaging tea of this type that I have tried. I will say that this was obviously the product of a very high quality picking judging by the appearance of the tea leaves. Maybe I’m being too hard on this tea, but I found it to be a very good, very solid Ya Shi Xiang and nothing more. It did not really surprise me or captivate me in any way, but it was also simultaneously very enjoyable and very far from disappointing.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Butter, Cannabis, Caraway, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Earth, Grass, Green Wood, Honey, Lettuce, Lychee, Milk, Oats, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Pomegranate, Smoke, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Leafhopper

I wonder if this is the same tea as the Ya Shi Xiang I bought last year. If so, you got more fruit out of it than I did.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer