So excited to try this! I’ll need to try different brewing methods, but went with 205 degree F water for each of the five infusions, which were durations of 45s, 1:30, 2:15, 3:00 and …longer (I forgot about it). ~2 tsp of tea in my 1 cup brewing apparatus.
The dry tea doesn’t have a great deal of scent, unlike the other three teas I received from Verdant. Mostly, it smells a bit floral and green (and tea-like), but I find with actual tea, the smell of the dry tea doesn’t necessarily reflect on the infused flavour at all.
There’s a light floral aroma, and the flavour is buttery, rich, and very thick-tasting; that is, the mouthfeel is that of a thicker liquid than steeped tea usually has. There’s a bit of a vegetal flavour, but just barely a hint. Mostly it’s just creamy and tasty.
The floral aroma is a bit stronger, and the butteriness/creaminess has slightly subsided, but this is still a delicate, delicious, smooth cup of tea. As a consequence of the reduced creaminess, I’m tasting the boiled vegetal and tea flavours somewhat more, which makes the cup seem a little sharper, and more flavourful.
There’s a deeper, darker flavour in this cup. We’ve moved away from vegetal, floral, and buttery, to almost a bit of a woody, rounder flavour. That makes it sound bad; it’s quite nice though. Definitely stronger-tasting at the end of the sip, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. There’s still a floral quality, which is different from what I’ve experienced with other teas, where it dissipates almost entirely by the third infusion.
This cup is mellow and definitely on the woody side of things. I want to say that there’s the barest hint of astringency, but it’s not quite there, and not at all unpleasant. It’s just a taste that I think I usually associate with astringency. I think this infusion has less flavour, so it takes more effort to taste its complexity, but there’s a lovely and unmistakeable lingering aftertaste.
Uh, when did this become sweet?! I wasn’t expecting this. All of a sudden there’s a general sweetness in the cup that I don’t remember before. Slightly honey-like. Mild, but definitely there. I wasn’t expecting much from this one, and only continued because the steeped leaves retained a tasty smell and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it another shot. The sweetness is almost fruity, but not quite there.
The leaves are still sitting in my infuser downstairs, so perhaps I’ll try an additional infusion later or tomorrow. I have to note that this tea has the biggest, most whole leaves I’ve ever come across! And wow, do they ever expand! Glad I used my little infuser-basket thingy so they could expand all they wanted – that 2 tsp has nearly expanded to fill the entire cup’s worth (plus airspace, of course).
So, I definitely am not catching all the flavours that I’ve heard this tea described as, but then again, my brewing method was probably atypical. I was sharing this with my roommate and thought that going with 15-second infusions might be overwhelming for her, but at the same time, I didn’t want to go completely Western-style, so went with IMO a happy medium. I’m not displeased with the results, but really want to try this gong-fu style, or at least, in a series of 15-second infusions. Luckily I have enough left for a couple more experiments before making my next Verdant order (which will probably be on April 1, so as to leave March’s budget alone).
Overall, definitely enjoyable, but I don’t have enough experience to say it’s miles beyond other tieguanyins or anything like that. I am impressed at the number of infusions I did get, and am pretty sure I’ll enjoy the next time I try this, so I’m looking forward to it, although it will have to wait until I’ve tried the other two oolongs and Yunnan White Jasmine!