108 Tasting Notes
Brewing this tea in a gaiwan with hot water for a very short time (gong Fu style) is a luxury. I did about 10 second infusions and the flavor is so chocolatey and rich, the aroma brimming with hints of coffee beans. The liquer is red-gold, just like the glowing wet leaves. At the moment the tea fills the mouth there is also a roasted chestnut quality to it that draws you in. I’m on infusion two and I suspect I will get many more to come!
Rinsed leaves have an aroma of cinnamon and raw chocolate; yeasty.
1st infusion, 98 deg/30 sec: light body, brown sugar, a little sour. I decided this was too short. Camellia Sinensis recommends 3-4 minutes, so here I started to agree with them.
2nd infusion, 98 deg/2 min: slightly more body, still sour-sweet. A little too sour for my taste.
3rd infusion, 98 deg/30 sec: round body, much sweeter and fruity. Finally quite drinkable. I’m marking this as a 2.5 minute tea as I think that might be a good starting point for future attempts.
This is a 2009 Putuo, well kept, but I’m not expecting miracles. To that end, I used water even cooler than I would normally (this is quite a small-leafed variety) and brewed it a bit longer. I have to say that I’m impressed at what I found, for a year-old tea.
Lightly sweet, with an aroma of steamed spinach that fills the mouth but doesn’t quite reach the nose. Very slightly drying on the palette, which I attribute to its age. Gentle and comforting for a wintry day, but without the body to stand up to any strong flavors.
The second infusion brought out more dryness and a vegetal addition to the body reminiscent of a toasted Japanese tea (eg: Kamairicha), but unfortunately lost most of the sweetness and aroma.
The aromas of a warm bank on the spring-green ocean bay of a tropical island. Toasted and sweet without being overtly vegetal or roasted. Oceanic but definitely not seaweedy or fishy. The second infusion takes on a bit of dryness which lingers, not unpleasantly, on the front of the tongue.
Not as sweet as previous years, but still with a comforting aroma and mouthfeel. There’s a slight smokiness I’m not used to finding in teas that don’t come from Yunnan (as far as I know this tea hails from the East coast of China), but it’s very subtle in the manner of Dian Lu Eshan Mao Feng or a light infusion of a white pu-erh. The combination of the slight sweetness and slight smokiness bring to mind the taste of a perfect mango.
The second and third infusions were just as good, although the sweetness retreats as the smokiness takes hold. After the third I thought I might be drinking the last infusions of a delicious green pu-erh.
Very buttery with a full mouthfeel that the Panan Supreme (which is also fantastic) just doesn’t have. The aroma is a heavenly combination of stone fruits. First and second infusions were great, but it went downhill quickly after that. It’s possible that the third infusion just needed hotter water or a much longer time; I’ll experiment in the future.
I know why they call this “milk tea”. It has a creamy texture that I usually associate with a high-quality Korean green or Anji Baicha, but with the fruity taste of a first-class rolled spring Oolong. Nice and sweet with very little dryness. The wet leaves have a more robust aroma than the liqueur: more like a deeply aromatic plum.
Toasty first infusion. Not as dry on the tongue as the darkness of the leaves would have me expect. In fact, I detect some sweetness much like the underlying taste of Feng Huang Dan Cong, but it’s a little rounder and smoother. The second infusion increases the sweetness and refreshing quality of the tea.
The taste of sweet pine. An indescribable nuttiness. A one-minute infusion is enough, but I’ve tried up to ten minutes (!!) and the flavor is still there, sweet and not astringent at all. Stronger, of course, but you can easily get 3-6 infusions from these wild leaves.
A really amazing tea. I can’t like it enough.
First infusion (85 degrees C/1 minute):
I sensed definite asparagus and artichoke notes with a light celery flavor. Very pure tasting without any hidden flavor to detect, but not blunt or boring at all. Aroma of freshly cut asparagus. The word that comes to mind is very “green”.
Second Infusion (85 degrees C/1 minute):
The sweet mouth taste of celery, with a creaminess and the aroma of brown sugar-roasted veggies. The flavor was really buttery with almost a salty butter flavor.
Third Infusion (88 degrees C/2 minutes):
This was more subtle, but still rich and actually more creamy with the vegetal asparagus taste pervading more.
Fourth Infusion(88 degrees C/2 minutes):
Lighter, but more like a 2nd infusion of most Chinese greens I’ve had, with nearly the same sweetness as the first infusion. Less vegetal for certain.
Fifth Infusion (88 degrees/2.5 minutes):
Very light, but still holding on with more of a Meng Ding vegetal top and the body of a Yin Zhen.