I’m about to run out of this tea and I noticed Halcyon tea is also out of 2011’s batch (I’m excited for the 2012 crop, hopefully it’ll be as good or better than last year’s). Anyways, I decided to give this tea a proper review.
This tea is made of twisted dark brown leaves with a subtle charcoal-like aroma.
I prepared this tea following Halcyon’s directions, using a Gaiwan, 195F water, and 1.5 min to 3.5 min steep time.
My first cup had a nice clear amber color with a toasty coconut aroma mixed with sweet sugary hint, similar to the smell of a bag of mixed sun dried fruits. The tea was subtly toasty with a mixture of several notes and flavors. It was slightly sweet, with hints of fruit, coconut, and a nice fresh aftertaste. After having a few sips of this tea, it left my mouth with a slightly dry sensation mixed with a freshness in my breath, just as if you had a bite of fresh fruit (grapes come to mind). My second was more of the same, no noticeable changes. Third cup I noticed a slight loss of flavor, coconut hint was gone, but the aftertaste was still there. In the 4th and 5th cup I increased the brew time from 1.5 min to 2.5 min. Still, flavor was weaker than in the first two infusions. The toastiness of the tea increased, most of the fruity flavors were weaker, and aftertaste was not as intense. I did feel a slightly chocolate hint in this cup similar to a mild dark chocolate. The fifth cup did not have the chocolate notes though, flavors by now were really subtle, but still enjoyable. By the sixth cup (this time steeping it for 3.5 min) the tea had a yellowish brown color, no aroma, and very faint flavors. After the 6th cup I decided not to re-brew.
The wet leaf now had a dark brownish green color to it and was made of well preserved leaves mixed with few broken pieces.
Overall, I really love this tea. I appreciate it a lot for its unique broad complexity of flavors and aromas. Honestly this is one of the hardest tea to describe, so many flavors and aromas that I don’t know what it reminds me of, I just know that I love it. I also like the fact that it is not very toasty, the dry leaf makes you think it will have a strong overpowering burnt flavor, but it surprises you with subtle fruity flavors. Even though the tea did not last many infusions compared to other high quality oolongs, the first cups are so delicious that it makes me keep coming back for more. Definitely one of my favorite Oolongs.