This is the second Ti Kuan Yin I’ve ordered online going solely on the reviews posted here on Steepster. I ordered one ounce of the tea packed in the gift box (I was curious to see how it looked) I received the tea inside a very nice carton box while the tea itself was inside a small plastic bag.
As I opened the plastic bag, I could instantly smell the aromatic floral essence of this tea. I grabbed a few leaves to check on the dry leaves. I noticed the that curled up tea “balls” were smaller than any TKY’s I’ve ever seen or have.The tightly rolled leaves were fragrant, slightly oily to the touch, and have a dark green jade color.
I prepared the tea using a gaiwan following the suggested brewing guidelines of 205F water and 3 min steep time.
The resulting brew gave me a clear yellow-green cup with a gentle floral aroma. I brewed this tea 7 times and as I kept brewing it, the flavor profile had subtle but noticeable changes.
My first cup was pretty straight forward. It was floral, sweet, smooth textured, and slightly aromatic aftertaste. The second cup remained pretty much the same. On the third steep, the brew became slightly creamy. I could say the best cups were the fourth and fifth steeps, as the tea became deliciously creamier and smoother tasting while retaining its floral aroma but with a slight seaweedy smell. On the sixth steeping I noticed a loss of the creamy texture and floral aroma/flavor. The seventh steeping gave me a very light green cup with floral hints still there, but almost no creaminess and no aroma.
Upon analizing the wet leaf, I could tell they did indeed use smaller leaves. Perhaps the small size indicates only young leaves were used in the production of this tea? Anyways, I enjoyed this tea especially in later steepings. I found the first cups pretty unintresting but later on, this tea becomes literally mouthwatering (my mouth would salivate few seconds after I had my last sip, this was more noticeable during the 3rd-5th steepings). Flavor-wise I think this is a great tea but found it a bit lacking in the aftertaste I look for in Ti Kuan Yins. I was also a little disappointed that after the fifth cup, the tea began to lose its flavor. Overall this is a great TKY and for the price/service(free shipping) verdant tea offers? hard to beat.