Yancha has to be my favorite type of tea and I’m slowly acclimating my palate to appreciate its nuances. This is a 2017 tea that I’m drinking mid-2018.
Sniff sniff. Dry leaf smells like dark chocolate, char and fennel. Eight grams of leaf placed into the warmed 100 mL jianshui gaiwan. Now I’m smelling the roast and fleeting interplay between floral and camphor in the damp leaves. Lid smells of the same with an added honey milk chocolate.
Rinse once for 10 seconds and drink the rinse. Why not.
First and second steeps at 20 seconds and a third at 30 produce a very strong mineral cup. Mouth feels tingly and like my cheeks are being sucked inward. A slight nondescript but pleasant sourness persists at the back of my tongue. I can feel a calmness wash over me as I type this. Light florals emerge. The camphor is fleeting. Here comes the qi but I ain’t moving. Chest and arms heavy, shoulders relaxing. Feeeel the heat. Pushing you to decide. If you’re going to go for a fourth steep. Nah, best to sit. Oh what’s that? A fourth steep? Floral aroma coming out more, there’s that honey milk chocolate scent again. A dark roasted bitter coffee presents on the sides of the tongue. I don’t understand. I thought sour was on the sides and bitter in the back. The minerality is consistent and strong. Iron. What a trip. Good thing the lights are low. I’m having thoughts of riding an electric mountain bike up a mountain (I mean, what else would I do with an electric mountain bike) until I reach some cliffs that I’ll have to climb. From there I’ll hike to the best vantage point the Bay Area has to offer and have a Freedom Barbecue in the fog. Thoughts are thoughts. I’m glued to the couch. hehe.
Time to take a break. Rating comes later.
Later (following evening):
I take note if a yancha abruptly drops off. Otherwise, I have the habit of not counting steeps. This one kept going. Finished off last night’s brew tonight. I can say that the pronounced mineral taste and mouthfeel and cha qi were the highlight of this tea with my heavy-handed leaf and water temperature. I have maybe 5 grams left, so I’m curious to see if other flavors and aromas become present with a final, kinder brew.