I’ve been drinking this April 2017 harvest western style in the mornings over the course of this week. Very clean, cooked vegetable savory and lemony and packed a heck of a caffeine punch. I usually used 2 tsp for one steep of a minute or two at 205F, then a second steep for as long as it took me to get ready. Not once did I experience any bitterness or astringency preparing the tea this way.
Today, I finally got around to doing a gongfu session and regret not doing so sooner. The dry leaf, now with 2 years of age, has settled into a soy-sauced and lemony vegetable stir-fry with some pepperiness, sweet potato and marshmallow sweetness, rose and spicy wood (agar). In addition to those aromas, warming the leaf brought out some sautéed mushroom. The rinse, which I drank, was piercing and strong and I was able to discern something like ginkgo nuts. I don’t know how to describe that scent.
The taste was incredibly complex, showcasing the various aromas of the leaf with hints of almond, malt and cinnamon. The body was medium, satisfying, full in the throat. Clean minerality. Aftertastes of peach, peach pit, lemon, lychee and cream. Bottom of the cup aroma of toasted marshmallow? Orange-lemon aroma. The tea forcefully maintained these characteristics for 6 steeps, when most black teas would have lost much, if not all, of their steam. With the seventh steep, some orchid came out in the mouth and the tea transitioned into a stronger lemon taste. This tea just did not want to stop. At the end, I was pushing 10+ minute brews and still sipping on something bright with a light tannic bite. I’m amazed that a black tea could produce more than 15 steeps (the only other I’ve had with comparable longevity was the Jin Guazi offered by Old Ways Tea, another Wuyi black).
I wouldn’t say I’ve been wasting the tea with western style brewing, but the strength of the leaf and its flavor complexity blew me away when prepared gongfu. I recall the price being rather high, maybe somewhere less than $0.50/g, but in my opinion, this tea was well worth it and I would gladly buy more if it were restocked.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Cream, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Pepper, Rose, Soy sauce, Spicy, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetables, Wood