This was one of my most recent sipdowns. As a matter of fact, now that I have gotten into the habit of dating the rough drafts of my reviews, I can assure all of you that I finished the last of my pouch of this tea on Saturday and that I composed my review Friday night. Interestingly, Feng Qing #17 continues to both underwhelm and confound me. I know a lot of people absolutely adore teas produced from Feng Qing #17, but I have yet to have one that blows me away. This one obviously did not buck that trend. It was a pretty good golden needle black tea though.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased 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 buds produced aromas of malt, chocolate, cream, cedar, tobacco, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected aromas of raisin, roasted almond, and banana as well as a subtle scent of smoke. The first infusion brought out aromas of vanilla, maple syrup, baked bread, and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, and chocolate that were backed by hints of roasted almond, banana, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, marshmallow, and tobacco. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of eucalyptus, honey, lemon zest, camphor, praline, marshmallow, black pepper, plum, roasted pecan, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of roasted almond, vanilla, marshmallow, and banana appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, maple syrup, cedar, eucalyptus, camphor, honey, lemon zest, roasted pecan, black pepper, plum, praline, earth, sweet potato, and orange zest. I also picked out hints of smoke, peach, pear, and red apple lurking here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, baked bread, lemon zest, orange zest, sweet potato, earth, and roasted almond notes that were balanced by lingering hints of red apple, roasted pecan, butter, cream, tobacco, cedar, plum, pear, eucalyptus, and honey.
This tea displayed admirable depth and complexity, but it was also a little too even-keeled to make much of a lasting impression on me. It ultimately just struck me as a sweet, smooth, approachable, balanced, and steady tea with deceptive depth and complexity. I tend to prefer Yunnan black teas that are a little pricklier and more commanding.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Maple Syrup, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Pear, Pecan, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla