So, I’m finally putting a note in for one of the Butiki roasted/dark Oolongs that I bought! I think I’ve tried them all (or at least most of them) now, using Stacy’s Western-style instructions, and am now working my way through Gong Fu brewings. This was the first…
… and it was marvellous! Prior to these ones from Butiki, I’d only ever tried one dark Oolong before (a Dahongpao gifted to me by my boss at the clinic) and the overriding flavours I’d noticed in them all were dried limes (common Iranian cooking ingredient) and dill. Hence no write-up so far – I really wanted to make sure I’d given these teas a full chance, with various styles of brewing, before I passed judgement. I much preferred this tea after brewing in my Gaiwan.
The first comment has to be the absolutely incredible smell of the dry leaves. They actually smell like sweet, dried apples. It’s not just a note or a reminder. They literally smelled like that. It was absolutely wonderful.
I brewed up 6 g in ~140 ml. After a quick rinse, I left the leaves to open a little in the Gaiwan and then did a first infusion for 10 s.
The wet leaves did disappoint me slightly – gone was the lovely, sweet, honeyed-apple smell and in its place was just what I’d come to ‘know’ of roasty Oolongs – dill and dried limes (more specifically, it smelled like slightly less savoury version of an Iranian stew called Ghormeh Sabzi – certainly delicious, but not a great tea aroma, for me). Still, I persevered, poured my tea into my cups and gave it a sip.
Thankfully, it was rather delicious. The liquor was golden brown (darker than I expected given the short brew and relatively low water temp) and had a lovely taste of dill and apples. It was much milder, in its roastiness, than the leaf-aroma suggested. I did another 10" brew that was much the same.
My third infusion was for 15" and I finally found perfection, for me, in this oolong. The liquor was still golden brown (excellent) but had a honey-like aroma and now tasted of dried limes and those wonderful ‘Red Delicious’ apple varietal – rather bittersweet, but so exceptionally flavoursome. The aftertaste was lovely too – a mild lingering bitterness with a honey-like sweetness that sits so nicely on the palette.
The fourth infusion, for 20", was much the same – sweet, appley and slightly bitter. It was so tasty, though, and renewed my faith in Gong Fu brewing as a way to really sit back and enjoy fine teas such as these. It really does seem to bring the best out of them.
Ten minutes later and the lovely, bittersweet, honeyed-apple aftertaste lingered on. Marvellous.
(I stopped after four steeps as I was getting quite full and wanted a break, rather than just continuing for the sake of it. Still, I will renew drinking this tea at lunchtime, where I’m sure it will continue to be wonderful! :D)