Expansive, juicy toasty, bright. This tea has mouth appeal.
On the Tea Trekker (TT) site they say, “There is virtually no detectable toastiness, but instead an elegant and fresh ‘green’ taste that is quite lovely. The aroma in the cup is less floral than that of the Shi Feng or Weng’jia Shan, which fits with its more toasty, slightly nutty nature.” Hmm, I find this confusing. So there’s “virtually no detectable toastiness,” but the aroma “is less floral… which fits with its more toasty, slightly nutty nature?”
I see pitfalls in reading a retailers description, falling prey to suggestion, but at the same time, once I’ve given a tea a good taste, I often am interested in seeing what descriptors others have used. With that said, now two teas in to TT’s 2013 Longjing spring offerings, so far this is my favorite of the bunch. It just whitewashes my mouth and then begins to explode with subtle and not so subtle colors and tones. A sweetness plays across my entire palate, like a light dusting of stevia inadvertently inhaled. Contrary, or not contrary to what TT says I get “toasty,” but not overtly so, particularly with fragrance. This is far from an over fired green. There’s a perky astringency and indeed nutty notes playing here.
I let this tea steep a little longer than usual, maybe a 1.5 to 2 mins the first time. Honestly, though I vacillate between being uber controlled to very intuitive and feel-based, this time I went with a combo. I monitored water temp with a my thermometer and got somewhere between 175 and 180ºF. The water temp changes as it’s transferred from vessel to vessel. For instance I find nearly boiling water drops significantly in temperature if I don’t preheat my tumbler and introduce it slowly in a long thin stream to the sides of the container. Starting with a small amount of water this way, swirling it first, I don’t seem to shock the leaves, and serve to wake them up AND preheat my tumbler.
I went with a longer steep, based on how the leaves reacted, the pace at which they began to descend. I’m fairly satisfied with just the first few leaves really becoming hydrated and committing to the fall, and will rarely wait for more than a quarter to drop.
The color is lovely, a pale subdued yellow. On my 2nd steep I notice some spice notes, and with Longjings I tend to associate it with cinnamon, but it’s not nearly that bold or autumnal. Astringency plays out a bit more, but I welcome it. I’m searching for vegetal, “green” aspects to this tea, and am just not getting them that strongly. Ah, silk… that’s a good way to express the tingling mouth feel, post sip. Not viscous or heavy, but still smooth and alive.