Whoa, a Japanese oolong – it’s a first one of a kind for me. I had two sessions worth of it, and the first one was kind of ruined because I oversteeped it by a lot. This tea, unlike traditional oolongs, requires short brews and relatively low temperatures. Treat it like a sencha (with potentially higher temps up to 80-85 degrees) and you should be fine – that means be especially careful about the second and third brews.
In terms of its profile (and, to a lesser extent, appearance), the tea reminds me of Himalayan oolongs. At first it is fruity, sweet, and woody with a strong minerality and mild tartness and a vegetal finish. Subsequent infusions further see the onset of some biting bitterness and notes of coffee and bread. The aftertaste is a bit more floral and cooling, so I’d say overall there is quite a lot packed into one session.
Aromas are quite pronounced too, dry leaves smell of roasted hazelnuts, croissant and stonefruits, while the wet leaf aroma is more floral with an apple note. Based on the aroma alone, I would actually place the tea somewhere in the vicinity of both dan cong oolongs (such as mi lan xiang) and lighter roasted rock oolongs.
The body is medium (unless you overbrew it, but then the astringency will kill any sort of mouthfeel) and the texture quite bubbly. I find that the liquor gets quite heavy as it cools down. The energy from the tea is both relaxing and sedating – somewhat distinct from your average sencha.
All in all, this is a remarkably aromatic and fairly complex tea – it makes me curious about the space of possibilities of tea production in Japan.
Flavors: Apple, Biting, Bitter, Bread, Char, Coffee, Floral, Fruity, Hazelnut, Mineral, Oak, Pastries, Roasted, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood