I’m continuing to mow down Taiwanese oolongs today. I’ve had a 10 gram sample of this tea for several months now and wanted to finish it. I found this to be a subtle and refined oolong that came off as a tad reserved.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off mild aromas of cream, butter, sweetgrass, and fresh flowers. After the rinse, distinct aromas of honeysuckle, lilac, orange blossom, gardenia, and hyacinth appeared. I also caught scents of vanilla, steamed milk, and cucumber. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet with slightly stronger scents of steamed milk and vanilla. I detected restrained notes of cream, butter, steamed milk, vanilla, and sweetgrass balanced by distant floral impressions and a hint of cucumber in the mouth. Subsequent infusions emphasized vanilla, sweetgrass, steamed milk, cream, butter, and cucumber notes. The floral impressions remained faint, though when they were more noticeable, the lilac, gardenia, and orange blossom seemed to be the most prominent. I also began to note hints of minerals, sweet pea, and sugarcane towards the finish. Later infusions emphasized butter, minerals, steamed milk, sweetgrass, cucumber, and sugarcane with hints of orange blossom, sweet pea, vanilla, and gardenia lurking in the background at various points.

This tea had a lot to offer despite its restraint. While the description provided above may give the impression that this was a very busy tea, it really was not. It just happened to offer something a little different with pretty much every infusion. The character of the tea was primarily deep, complex, and savory. It had quite a bit of body and a smooth, buttery texture in the mouth. For a budget oolong, this was surprising. Its emphasis on savory aromas and flavors and its subtlety marked it as being different from virtually all other four seasons oolongs that I have tried. In the end, I would recommend this one, but I cannot help feeling that it would perhaps appeal most to those who are already fairly familiar with Taiwanese oolongs.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Sugarcane, Vanilla

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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.



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