I’ve been wanting to try this Li Shan for while since it has gotten such rave reviews on Steepster. After finally getting my hands on a sample, I have to say this was worth the hype. Love it when that happens :-)
The leaves of this tea are rolled into giant green nuggets that have a fresh orchid scent. Wet leaf aroma is extraordinarily sweet with florals reminiscent of hyacinth and daffodils. The tea started off fairly thin and light with a bit of sugarcane. Figuring the water temperature was too low, I upped it to 200 F from 190 F to help bring out more flavor in the second steep. Out came a thick nectar of wildflowers and honeycomb. The following steep I used just under boiling water and got more pastoral flowers, minerality, and a fairly viscous mouthfeel that was very soothing. I was really beginning to feel the cha qi at this point.
From there on out, I used straight up boiling water for the next 6 steeps. It went through a complex taste evolution going from buttery to brothy and then fruity; all the while maintaining a distinct gao shan flavor. Interestingly enough, this tea was mostly fruity in the later steeps with little to no vegetal tones unlike other Li shan’s I’ve tried. I loved its sumptuous fruitiness and powerful cha qi. Also impressive was the incredible staying power that lasted through 9 steeps without any bitterness whatsoever.
After 2 sessions with this sample, I had slightly less than 2 grams left which I brewed western style. Though lighter, the western steep brought out more of the tea’s floral aspects into play.
Really impressed with this offering from What-Cha. It’s complexity and evolution of taste over infusions was quite nice. Definitely going to get some more of this tea with my next order.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Nectar, Sugarcane, Sweet