Alright, time for my first legit tasting note for this tea. The website says that this is my 152 tasting note, but I don’t really count my most recent two as notes, since they aren’t detailed, and don’t have a rating. Yesterday was a nice preview, but I getting interrupted by things, so the session was cut short. I don’t have a gaiwan, so I had to make do with what I had available: Two mugs, a strainer, and a steady hand. I didn’t want to use my tea ball, for fear of restricting the leaves when they try to open.
The first infusion was not as intense as most black teas, but it makes up for that with the amazing taste. I did not rinse the leaves before the first steep, but it still tastes well above average. Steep time was more than five, but less than ten seconds, using approximately four ounces of 205 degree water paired with about four grams of tea. The taste is silky, sliding over the tongue in a very unique way. The taste is slightly malty, but not very strong. There is no doubt that this is a Dian Hong, but it is clearly more refined than every other that I’ve tasted. There is also a hint of the sugar flavor I talked about in my note yesterday, but it’s not well developed yet. The tea finishes with an aftertaste that lingers for a good minute on the hard palate of the mouth. Not quite sure what it is, but it is pleasant. I can’t wait to see how the tea develops.
Second infusion, 8 seconds, 4 ounces, 205 degrees. More refined than last time., still silky, and the raw sugar has developed nicely. The aftertaste still lingers on the hard palate, but it has started to stick to my tongue as well. There is also a bit of cinnamon starting to peak through the flavor palette, making the tea delightfully complex. I’m starting to think that this is the platonic ideal of a Dian Hong. Again, I can’t wait to taste the developments of the next infusion.
Third infusion, the only change to the method was I got a bit distracted, and made five ounces of tea, and steeped for 12 seconds. The end result is a cinnamon-flavored tea, sweetened with raw sugar. The mouth-feel is a bit less prominent now, but is still silky, and the tea’s taste is very clear, creating a very enjoyable experience. The aftertaste is weaker, lingering for only about thirty seconds on the hard palate before it fades. The end result is a very nice development of flavors, which combine in such an amazing way to create a great cup of tea.
Fourth infusion, 4 ounces, 12 seconds. Unfortunately, I had a bit o lemonade while the tea was cooling, and that messed up my sense of taste a bit, but here’s what I got from this tea: The cinnamon has really started to get strong, and clove seems to be appearing, but it was hard to tell. The tea feels silky, and is still very clear. I don’t know about the brightness that David mentions on the website, but it was very remarkable nonetheless. The aftertaste has weakened, lingering for only 20 seconds now, but the end result is still exceptional.
The fifth infusion, 15 seconds, four ounces. The tea has become delightfully spicy. The clove flavor has really started to show itself, and the cinnamon is still going strong. There is also some other spice flavor present, but I can’t tell what it is exactly. It might be morel, but I’ve never had morel before, so I can’t really say that with any degree of certainty. Because of this, the tea isn’t really sweet any more, but that just makes it interesting, reaffirming my earlier claim that this is an ideal Dian Hong. Another interesting development is that the aftertaste has gotten a bit stronger again, lingering for 45 seconds on the hard palate. It has also changed in that the aftertaste is tingly, like spice or perhaps something rubbing on the surface of my mouth. Different, yet pleasant.
The sixth, same parameters as usual, 25 seconds. The taste has changed subtly. It is still smooth, but I would no longer consider it silky. It is a bit more like the mineral smoothness of a Wuyi Oolong, but not quite the same. Also, the cinnamon and clove flavors are rather strong, and they are very harmonious at the moment. The mystery taste also meshes well with them, but not to the same extent (at least, not yet).