I wrote a previous tasting note on the 2017 spring harvest of this Shan Lin Xi, and this one is for 2018. Every year, I get some of this tea, and every year, I run out of it too soon. I need to cave and buy a larger amount. I steeped my last remaining 6 g in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the teapot, I get aromas of cherry, wheatgrass, flowers, and honey; it smells softer and more nuanced than the 2017 version. Because it has all the tea bits from the bottom of the bag, the first steep is more astringent than usual, with notes of flowers, honey, cream, grass, and faint cherry. From the second steep, stronger cherry, balsam, and tropical fruit (maybe papaya?) emerge. Like its 2017 counterpart, this tea ends too soon, with the fruitiness and florals disappearing into vegetal obscurity by steep seven or so.

This Shan Lin Xi is a favourite and is great for mindless sipping. Last spring’s harvest had a more distinctive cherry profile, and while I appreciate this year’s honey and florals, that fruitiness is what makes me return year after year. The only thing that’s preventing me from giving this tea a higher rating is how quickly it ends.

Flavors: Cherry, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honey, Sap, Tropical, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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