Trying the last of my original sample tonight in a western-gong-fu sort of style (e.g. 15 second infusions). I used about 4g of leaf in my little glass teapot, and filled it halfway with ~205F water each time (so maybe about 5oz.?) Some of the infusions crept to closer to 20 seconds.
1: Woah, so sweet! A little toasty and nutty, but a delicious sweetness, and an oolong aftertaste that takes a while to show up but is perfect. This is amazing, seriously. Only marred by the aftertaste of ginger/galangal still on my palate after the Spiced Elderberry Pu’er (whoops).
2: Lost some of the sweetness now and is more grounded. It’s getting to that woody flavour that I find with oolongs, but it’s taken a sidestep off the beaten path as there are some fruitier, rounder notes in here too. I suck at descriptions. Lovely though.
3: Oh crap. Got an initial flavour of soap in this one, and it’s somewhat stronger (pot sat with wet leaves between 2 and 3). I’m wondering if the cup wasn’t well rinsed. Argh. Second sip not so soapy, but I’d blame the cup, not the tea. There’s some astringency coming out here, perhaps because the leaves sat. Maybe I need to reduce the infusion time after the leaves have been sitting (it was only for maybe 5-10 minutes, but still). I’m getting fruity notes now that I seem to have washed the soap off the rim of the cup by drinking it (blech). Still strong and woody-ish, but quite good. Just wish that astringency wasn’t there.
4: Back to reduced astringency (although still present a bit – I think these last two infusions were also closer to 20s, so maybe I need to watch that I keep the time to 15). Moving ever-more towards that woody profile.
(I might continue and update later, but stomach getting full and my mouth is revolting against the astringency).
It seems that, by contrast to a lot of other people on here, I tend to enjoy the first infusion quite a bit more than subsequent infusions (in most teas, including greens and oolongs). I don’t know if that’s because they tend to be sweeter and less astringent, or I just prefer the initial flavours, but I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be! Glad my Huang Zhi Xiang experimentation is finally working out, and thank you SO much to David Duckler for supplying me with some extra leaves so I can give it another couple attempts!