It has certainly been a while since I had an oolong. These days, on account of the hot weather that continues to plague my town in November, I have been drinking mainly greens with some blacks thrown in for robustness. Yet, it has finally started to cool, and I felt this was a good opportunity to revive my love of oolongs! Bringing out my gaiwan, fairness pot, and a favorite cup, I collect the things I will need to try this tea, while the water boils. Opening the foil package of leaves, I breath in, taking in the high, sharp floral notes that seem almost sweet. Placing them in the bottom of the gaiwan, I pour just the slightest bit of water over them to rinse them and to begin the opening of the leaf. The aroma that rises from the gaiwan is one that matches the sweet, high floral notes. Touches of fruit, almost reminiscent of pear, come to mind. This first steep will be interesting.
The first steep is for thirty seconds, after which I am left with a pale, golden yellow infusion that smells reminiscent of the dry leaf, but a more vegetal aspect has been piecked up and brought forward, as tie guan yin tend to do. The flavor surprises me. I am struck by a deep, rich floral and vegetal taste. Deep and rich are the best words to describe it, despite seeming completely at odds with the high floral and fruit aroma. Too, the oolong has a thick mouthfeel, a bit on the heavy side. That aroma is left in the aftertaste, bringing all of the senses together. The leaves are put into water for another infusion. After another thirty seconds, I am left with a paler brew, more of a light yellow. Strange, I thought, a second steeping should look stronger. Yet it tastes much like the first steeping, though the floral notes are more pronounced. The third infusion (again for thirty seconds) brings back the color and aroma of the first. The flavors, though, have evolved, losing some of their floral nature and becoming more vegetal. Heating some more water, I place the leaves in a large pot to steep out the rest of their deliciousness. This oolong was very decent for a tie guan yin, and on my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate it an 89/100.