Fancy Tie Guan Yin Oolong Autumn Harvest 2012
Dry: Rich, clarified butter, orchid-floral
Wet: Oceanic, vegetal, faintly floral, almond
Leaf: Deeply luminescent green, tightly rolled knots that unfurl to huge full leaves. 4g easily fills the volume of an 10oz pot.
Cup: Pale, lemony-golden liquor with a cloudy appearance, that clears up to a bright, glowing white grapefruit translucent hue by the 3 extraction. The cup is deeply fragrant and hints at the buttery and sweet flavors in the cup. Rich, explosive layers of resonate orchid, with a sweet oceanic depth and almost sea salt lingering. The resounded waves that bloom throughout the mouth are like the ocean against the shore, laying new sparkling moments that linger for many minutes after drinking. The splashing flavors are rich with a texture that is like holding flower petals in the mouth, only to find them vanish upon searching for them. The flavors continue, steep after steep, only becoming cleaner, more mineral, elusive and sparkling sweet. It seems to hold onto the temperature of the liquor and translate it into something that is nearing a texture, but also a physical sensation that resonates against the top of the palate and against the uvula and intensifies each whisper of incoming breath.
Directions: used 4g in 10oz glass pot, decanted into glass tea ocean and steeped for 1-2 minutes using 190 degree water (with an initial ½ oz of cold water to pre-extract the leaves on the 1st steeping. 2nd steep same. 3rd steep 3minutes. 4th steep 4 minutes. 5th steep 5 mintues.
Notes: I have been assembling over a dozen Tie Guan Yin oolongs of various grades, types, oxidation, locations, harvests and crafts to hold a free tea cupping for the local public in my Tea Around Town program. Its been a very interesting journey and quite educational, as I have draw together aged oolongs, double fired, spring/autumn harvests, China/Taiwan harvests, and variable oxidation and this particular tea floored me. I have always heard about the quality of these oolongs being defined by the characteristic of ‘orchid’ notes and the tendency for them to ‘blush’ in repeated ways beyond the first sip. I guess I have experienced some of them in the past, but this was truly an example of this all the way. Later steeping even drew out flavors of Asian pear and granny smith apple. All I can say is with such a bounty in a simple cup, why would anyone ever need to flavor these? Wow…..amazing.