906 Tasting Notes

90

Alright, here is my last review of the day. This was another of my sipdowns from either June or July. I know I finished what I had of this tea a couple days after I finished the second of the Yunnan bi luo chun black teas. At the time I was drinking this tea, I remembered that I had enjoyed the 2017 version, but I had not been totally in love with it. This spring 2018 production was noticeably better.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 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 buds presented aromas of chocolate, malt, sugarcane, and pine. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of baked bread, sweet potato, and green bell pepper. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted almond, cream, vanilla, banana, and roasted peanut. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of malt, cream, roasted almond, roasted peanut, green bell pepper, and pine that were chased by hints of cinnamon, sweet potato, chocolate, sugarcane, and banana. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange zest, earth, caramel, marshmallow, and plum. Subtle notes of baked bread and vanilla came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident impressions of sugarcane, banana, sweet potato, and chocolate. I also picked up notes of minerals, molasses, caramel, earth, cooked green beans, orange zest, black pepper, marshmallow, lemon zest, plum, and black cherry. Fleeting hints of clove and eucalyptus could also be picked up here and there. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, malt, cream, orange zest, earth, sugarcane, and lemon zest that were balanced by hints of chocolate, pine, cinnamon, caramel, sweet potato, plum, and roasted almond.

Compared to the spring 2017 version of this tea, this offering was smoother yet deeper and more consistently engaging. Nothing came across as being out of place or out of focus. Everything worked together beautifully. Overall, this was just an expertly crafted and superbly balanced Yunnan black tea. I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone looking for a balanced, sophisticated, mellow black tea with a good deal of complexity and depth.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Green Beans, Green Bell Peppers, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
mrmopar

Good to see you old friend!

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68

Since I have just finished posting a review of Yunnan Sourcing’s spring 2018 Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun and I am not completely exhausted, I figured I may as well go ahead and post this review as a companion piece to that one. I finished what I had of this tea immediately after I finished that aforementioned Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun Yunnan Black Tea. The two were very similar, and quite frankly, I found them both to have the same glaring flaws. Of the two, though, this one struck me as being the better tea overall.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled leaf and bud sets in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dried tea leaves and buds emitted aromas of malt, cinnamon, baked bread, molasses, pine, chocolate, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of smoke, roasted peanut, and roasted almond. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted walnut as well as a subtle honey scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, baked bread, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and geranium that were balanced by hints of marshmallow, cream, chocolate, honey, roasted walnut, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of marshmallow, grass, geranium, earth, geranium, and orange zest as well as stronger scents of chocolate, malt, and baked bread. Pine, molasses, cinnamon, and smoke notes came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of marshmallow, cream, chocolate, and roasted walnut. Notes of minerals, earth, orange zest, grass, cooked green beans, butter, and raisin also emerged. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, raisin, pine, butter, baked bread, and earth that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, sugarcane, orange zest, roasted walnut, marshmallow, cream, roasted peanut, and honey.

This was a smooth Yunnan bi luo chun black tea that offered up exactly what you would expect of a tea of this type and nothing more. Compared to the Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun black tea that I tried before it, this one was not as complex, but it expressed itself a little more clearly in the mouth and produced a tea liquor that was slightly thicker and fuller. Both teas were still a little lacking in terms of clarity, weight, depth, and definition, but of the two, this one was slightly better. As I said with the other tea, I would not advise someone to avoid this offering, but there are better examples of this style out there.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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66

This was one of my somewhat more recent sipdowns. I think I finished my pouch of this tea in either June or July. As Yunnan pure bud bi luo chun black teas go, I actually found this one to be pretty boring. It wasn’t unpleasant in any way, but it did not exactly offer anything new or unique either.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of sweet potato, baked bread, smoke, sorghum molasses, cinnamon, pine, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, I detected aromas of malt, honey, sugarcane, and stewed tomato as well as subtler scents of geranium and eucalyptus. The first infusion introduced aromas of butter and cream as well as a subtle roasted peanut aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, smoke, baked bread, butter, cream, and sweet potato that were balanced by hints of sugarcane, roasted peanut, honey, caramel, cinnamon, and marshmallow. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of marshmallow, black pepper, plum, and orange zest. Pine and dark chocolate notes came out in the mouth alongside hints of eucalyptus, sorghum molasses, geranium, and stewed tomato, and stronger and more immediately evident notes of sugarcane, honey, cinnamon, and marshmallow. I also detected notes of minerals, earth, black pepper, orange zest, and roasted walnut as well as hints of roasted hazelnut, roasted pecan, cooked green beans, and plum. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, malt, butter, roasted walnut, and baked bread as well as suddenly amplified impressions of roasted pecan. These flavors were chased by hints of pine, cinnamon, orange zest, dark chocolate, and marshmallow.

This was not a bad Yunnan black tea, but as stated earlier, it did not offer anything new or intriguing. It also did not pull everything together in the mouth as nothing seemed unified. I never felt that all of the flavor components expressed themselves clearly or worked together in harmony. Add in the fact that the tea liquor struck me as being slightly thin and watery, and I ultimately came away with an impression of this tea as pleasant but flawed. Personally, I would not advise someone to avoid this tea, but there are better teas of this type out there, and they are not all that difficult to find.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pecan, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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94

This is a tea I have been meaning to review for some time. I actually started a review months before my Steepster hiatus, right around the time it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to conceal the fact that I was seriously ill, but I did not complete it. At the time, I felt that if I were to focus on reviewing something that excited me, I would be able to rediscover some of my passion for writing, get back on track with my tea reviews, and then maybe start to put myself back together so that I would be more functional, but that did not happen. Instead, I stared at a blank screen for around an hour, got angry, threw my notebook across the room, and stomped away to sulk. I guess I’m done sulking now. This was a great tea. I wish I had reviewed it when I first intended to because not only was it very good to drink, it made me happy at a time when nothing made me happy and nothing felt good.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 7 grams of the tea leaf and rose petal blend in 5 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 blend of dry tea leaves and rose petals emitted an overpowering rose aroma that was underscored by subtle scents of malt, cinnamon, and cedar. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of chocolate, cream, smoke, and orange zest. The first infusion introduced a subtle baked bread scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of rose, cream, and malt that were chased by hints of chocolate, orange zest, and cedar. The subsequent infusions introduced a subtle roasted almond scent. Notes of baked bread came out in the mouth alongside hints of smoke and cinnamon. Impressions of minerals, earth, cooked green beans, roasted almond could also be detected. I even noticed some hints of roasted peanut, honey, sweet potato, and brown sugar. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, cream, rose, and orange zest notes that were balanced by hints of baked bread, roasted almond, and malt.

This was not a complex or deep blend in any way, but I do not think it was ever intended to be. It was all about delivering rose petal aromas and flavors springing from a typical Dian Hong base, and it did just that. The tea was just present enough to provide some balance, but it largely stayed in the background to let the huge rose presence have its time in the spotlight. People who are not huge on floral blends, and particularly people who do not enjoy rose with their tea, would likely not be into this offering at all. People like me, however, who love rose and black tea blends would almost certainly be into it. Definitely check this out if you like floral blends that are very heavy on the floral component.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Rose, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
ashmanra

This sounds right up my alley and I need to place a Teavivre sometime soon, so on the list it goes. I am sorry you were not well. It is good to see you back!

mrmopar

Yeah good to see reviews again!

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48

This is another older review of mine. I think it comes from either April or May of this year. At this point, I should also state that I always dread posting reviews of teas from Bihar because they are so hit or miss for me. As a matter of fact, the only Bihar tea I recall liking was a silver needle that also came from Doke Tea Garden. Naturally, I still need to review it. Anyway, this struck me as being kind of a typical Doke black tea in that it was earthy, woody, kind of vegetal, and somewhat reminiscent of an Assam black tea, only not nearly as satisfying. Honestly, this struck me as being a very mediocre black tea overall.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse before steeping, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of cedar, earth, and cured tobacco. After infusion, I picked up new aromas of grass, smoke, malt, plum, leather, wintergreen, and cooked spinach that were accompanied by much subtler scents of straw and cinnamon. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, malt, butter, smoke, earth, cooked green beans, spinach, seaweed, green wood, cedar, sweet potato, autumn leaves, wintergreen, leather, and cured tobacco. There was also something of a salty umami note reminiscent of vegetable broth, hints of plum and brown sugar, and an odd mix of lemon rind, allspice, black pepper, straw, and cinnamon notes left on the back of the throat after each swallow. Aside from the aforementioned tart citrus, straw, and spice impressions that marked the tail end of the finish of each sip of the tea liquor, each swallow was largely drying, tannic, bitter, and vegetal. This tea just refused to go out in a smooth, pleasant manner. It very quickly became a challenge to drink.

Overall, this tea was very much a mixed bag. It presented a rather unique mix of aroma and flavor components, and while many of them expressed themselves quite well, they didn’t really work together. I have had a similar issue with every other Doke black tea I have tried. And then considering the way each sip of this tea ended in a harsh and punishing manner, I just could not find a ton to like about it. I only purchased 25 grams of this tea, but I had to force myself to finish the pouch because it quickly became such a chore to drink. I doubt that I will be in any rush to try more Doke black teas in the near future. They just don’t do it for me.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cinnamon, Earth, Grass, Green Beans, Green Wood, Herbaceous, Leather, Lemon, Malt, Plums, Seaweed, Smoke, Spicy, Spinach, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Umami

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

Okay, I guess I’m coming back to Steepster now. The funny thing is I honestly had no intention of coming back to the site save to read and like the tasting notes of others or maybe post the occasional comment or question. At the time I decided to step away, I was not only dealing with an avalanche of mental and physical health issues, but I had also reached a point where I did not feel that I had anything else to say. Each time I sat down to post a tea review, I was either filled with so much anxiety and frustration that I had to force myself through the process, or I just could not find any motivation to write anything and would stare at my computer screen for varying lengths of time before giving up and walking away to do anything else. Furthermore, I was extremely angered and disappointed by the owners’ decision to sell to Adagio and was certain at the time that it would be a death sentence for this site and community. Fortunately, I seem to have been wrong about that last bit (to this point), and since I have been doing a little better over the last couple of weeks, I figured that I may as well try to get back into the groove of writing tea reviews and see how things go. Naturally, my already huge backlog has grown even further. I have a pile of unposted reviews stretching from July 2019 to the present, and I am still certain that I have one review from the fall of 2018 that I simply forgot to post. This one comes from either February or March of this year. I recall enjoying this tea, but I also recall thinking that it struck me as being a bit light and green compared to many of other Da Wu Ye I have sampled in recent years.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orchid, pomegranate, orange blossom, cream, butter, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of custard, vanilla, roasted almond, pear, and baked bread. The first infusion then brought out aromas of grass and coriander. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orange blossom, sugarcane, grass, cream, baked bread, butter, and roasted almond that were balanced by lighter, subtler impressions of pear, orchid, pomegranate, lychee, custard, plum, and spinach. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of violet, plum, spinach, lychee, sour cherry, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of custard, pear, spinach, plum, and lychee came out in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, white grape, orange zest, violet, sour cherry, and green apple. Hints of butterscotch, apricot, and coriander lurked around the fringes. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, roasted almond, butter, baked bread, grass, pear, spinach, and coriander that were balanced by hints of orange zest, pomegranate, cream, vanilla, sugarcane, orchid, and white grape.

This was an extremely interesting and satisfying Dancong oolong. The mix of aromas and flavors was great, and the liquor it produced consistently felt wonderful in the mouth. Many Dancong oolongs can become very woody, vegetal, or astringent in the mouth, but this one never did. It was also much lighter in body and less savory than many of the other Da Wu Ye I have tried. I suspect that the roast on this tea was lighter than that of previous years. Anyway, this was a very good tea that was very approachable. I tend to be a big fan of traditional Da Wu Ye, so this tea did not quite tick all the boxes for me, but it was still very good. I am willing to bet that people who are into lighter roasted oolongs would love it.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Butterscotch, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Leafhopper

Glad to have you back! I also thought that Steepster’s change of ownership could have a negative effect and am glad that things have evened out after some initial issues with the website. That Da Wu Ye sounds like my kind of Dancong.

derk

Welcome back to steepsterspace. May your return be the beginning of a healthier guy. It’s been a tough year. I look forward to your in-depth tasting backlogs being posted as the urges present.

Martin Bednář

Welcome back! I know exactly what are you talking about; I had same moments, though my reveiews aren’t that complex as yours. Maybe “care less” about the reviews, write them when you feel to, maybe forget the “long waiters” — we will survive not seeing them :)

Just be happy with this community that luckily haven’t disappeared yet. This year was stressful for everyone, including myself, sometimes I don’t post anything here as well, I am sometimes just reading others notes and I really enjoy that! There are so many teas which sound interesting or nice to try, there are companies who I never heard of and they deliver sometimes awful teas — but that’s the path of tea explorers! Be safe, don’t feel that you have to share everything with us. You don’t (this applies to me as well!) !

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91

Okay, I’m finally back on Steepster to post a review. I doubt I’ll have the time to bang out more than one this evening. This website’s bugs are starting to drive me crazy. This is now the third or fourth time I have tried to post this review. Hopefully this time is the charm. Anyway, this is yet another blast from the past. I think I finished what I had of this tea in either February or March. As Assam black teas go, this one was pretty much exceptional.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to steeping, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cedar, prune, raisin, tobacco, and dark chocolate. After infusion, I detected new aromas of malt, cream, honey, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, honey, cream, butter, oats, tobacco, autumn leaves, cedar, caramel, raisin, prune, sorghum molasses, orange zest, pine, and lemon that were chased by hints of candied date, fig, roasted almond, and black cherry. There were even traces of red pear and dark chocolate left at the back of the throat after each swallow. The finish was wonderfully smooth, malty, and balanced with some pleasant fruity touches.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable Assam black tea. It produced a liquor that was very balanced and drinkable, presenting a wonderful and highly complimentary array of aromas and flavors while also offering a good amount of heft and fullness in the mouth. Basically, this tea offered what one would generally expect of a high quality Assam black tea. I doubt it will surprise any experienced Assam drinkers, but it is very enjoyable regardless. This is the sort of tea that doesn’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to be appreciated.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Pear, Raisins, Tobacco

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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72

This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the year. I’m pretty sure that it was the first white tea I polished off in 2020 and seem to remember drinking the last of it sometime during the first half of February. Though I am a pretty big fan of Yunnan white tea, this one did not do a ton for me. It wasn’t bad though. If I had to say anything negative about it, I would say that it struck me as being too subtle as well as being rather boring and predictable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed 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 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, grass, malt, vanilla, marshmallow, pine, and sugarcane that were underscored by hints of smoke. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of toasted sweet corn, cream, and cucumber. The first infusion introduced a cooked zucchini scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered subtle notes of hay, marshmallow, cream, grass, butter, malt, and toasted sweet corn that were balanced by even more delicate notes of minerals, cooked zucchini, cucumber, pine, sugarcane, and honeydew. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of honeydew, butter, grilled lemon, corn husk, and summer squash. Notes of smoke and vanilla came out in the mouth along with stronger impressions of hay, minerals, grass, cooked zucchini, cucumber, sugarcane, and honeydew. New flavors of spinach, grilled lemon, summer squash, squash blossom, oats, and corn husk also appeared, as did hints of plum, honey, almond, and sour apricot. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cucumber, sugarcane, corn husk, cream, and grass that were balanced by hints of toasted sweet corn, hay, vanilla, grilled lemon, almond, plum, sour apricot, and cooked zucchini.

There were some interesting aromas and flavors present in this tea, but unfortunately, they were often too delicate and subtle to hold my interest for any length of time. The tea liquor was usually more texture-heavy than anything, so people who spend a lot of time focusing on the texture of a tea’s liquor would be likely to get a lot out of this particular tea. I tend to focus more on aromas and flavors than texture, so perhaps this tea was just not one that was meant to be appreciated by someone like me. In the end, I’m glad I tried this tea, but I also doubt I would go out of my way to try any further productions of it.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Lemon, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Oats, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

Alright, I’m back again. I’m still struggling with motivation it seems. When I do manage to get some free time, I never seem to want to do much on Steepster. Of course, I have also been in a generally terrible mood for like the last four or five months, so it’s probably a good thing that I don’t seek out any form of social interaction regularly. Anyway, that’s enough of me being a lazy sourpuss. Let’s get on to the tea review. This is another golden oldie of mine. I think I finished my pouch of this tea back in either January or February of this year. I found it to be an excellent winter Dancong oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 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 produced aromas of orange blossom, orchid, vanilla, cream, custard, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of violet, lemon candy, grass, baked bread, and toasted corn. The first infusion introduced a rather subtle gardenia scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orange blossom, orchid, grass, gardenia, cream, butter, and roasted almond that were chased by subtler impressions of vanilla, baked bread, toasted corn, sugarcane, pear, and peach. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange zest, earth, pear, steamed milk, green apple, sour cherry, butter, coriander, roasted almond, and spinach. Impressions of lemon candy, violet, and custard came out in the mouth alongside stronger notes of baked bread, vanilla, toasted corn, pear, peach, and green apple. Impressions of minerals, sour cherry, orange zest, white grape, earth, steamed milk, coriander, and wood also made themselves known. In addition to these new flavors, I could also pick up some hints of plum, spinach, and pomegranate as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cream, butter, earth, wood, grass, and coriander that were balanced by lingering hints of vanilla, baked bread, green apple, lemon candy, spinach, sugarcane, orange zest, sour cherry, and pear.

This was really not what I was expecting of a Ya Shi Xiang. I often find such teas grainy, gritty, nutty, and earthy, and while a lot of those characteristics were present, this tea emphasized floral, vegetal, fruity, and smooth, creamy qualities. It was incredibly easy to drink and very approachable. If I had not known this was a Ya Shi Xiang going into my review session, I doubt I would have been able to identify it. Overall, this was a great Dancong oolong. I could see a tea like this going over well with people who often find Dancong oolongs to be too astringent or too volatile in how they express themselves.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Earth, Fruity, Gardenias, Grain, Grass, Green Apple, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

This is yet another review from either July or August of 2019. It’s also probably going to be the last review I post today. I recall this tea being just a little past its prime when I got around to reviewing it, but it was still a very nice offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing 6 grams of the rolled tea leaves, I steeped them in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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 apricot, peach, orchid, orange blossom, golden raisin, straw, and honey. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, cream, vanilla, pastry, sesame, and custard. The first infusion introduced aromas of plum, violet, rose, lilac, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of apricot, peach, rose, orchid, honey, roasted almond, plum, vanilla, and orange blossom that were balanced by hints of lilac, baked bread, cream, straw, golden raisin, violet, butter, and tangerine. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of tangerine, dandelion, grass, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of tangerine, cream, baked bread, violet, and butter appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, Asian pear, white grape, orange zest, grass, watercress, and dandelion. There were also some pleasant hints of sesame, mint, pastry, and custard. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, butter, cream, grass, baked bread, and orange zest that gave way to delicate impressions of vanilla, violet, apricot, dandelion, sesame, honey, peach, tangerine, and orchid before a cooling mint note kicked in and filled the mouth after each swallow.

This was a very unique and approachable Tieguanyin that also displayed tremendous depth and complexity. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I was detecting with each sniff and swallow. I can only imagine how much more powerful and enjoyable this tea would have been had I tried it while it was fresher.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Mint, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pastries, Peach, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Rose, Straw, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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

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