I was pretty sure I had the company name wrong on this when I originally posted. Later I found it on the web listed under the name Qiandao Yuye. More recently I found an oolong by the same company listed on Alex Zorach’s tea blog as Starway. Whatever the name, the tin is pretty distinctive so is it is easy to spot on the shelf.
This one has been in the drawer for months without being touched. When I bought it, the smell and the taste were really bad. So bad in fact, I was cutting it with Chocolate mint, which together strangely made for a wonderful drink – read my previous notes. I believe it was Charles who mentioned buying a cheap shu and it becoming quite nice with some age. This tea is probably only a year old but lets see what happens…
The leaf is chocolate brown and has no distinctive odor. That’s a good start. I did a 6 second wash, poured and let the leaf rest a moment, then did a 30 second drinking steep. I have always loved the color of this tea. The first cup is burgundy, and very wine-like. I pour and sniff the leaf. The moldy fish odor is gone! It has been replaced with a mild shu odor :^)
The sip… Holy metamorphosis Batman, I can’t believe this is the same tea! Absolutely none of the nasties that were present last summer. It has been replaced with very mild yet leathery goodness. I am allowing that my judgment may be a bit clouded as my head is still pretty stopped up. Even if I am only half right, this is aging into a nice tea. A few more sips and I am getting that sticky lip feel with my tummy rumbling in appreciation.
Cup two, one minute steep. Darker, more root beer colored. This is a richer more flavorful cup. The longer steep definitely brings out a lot more flavor. There really isn’t anything I would call earthy so far, or for that matter mushroom. Just clean leather.
Cup three, one minute steep. Same root beer color. This is the last cup I have time for today and it’s a good thing as the flavor just dropped of too almost tasteless. So two good steeps with this one or I guess I could add the mint on the third. Hmmm.
Overall not quite the fullness of Teavivre’s Rose Toucha, but at $6 (as I recall) for 6oz this has turned into quite a bargain. Upping the rating.