618 Tasting Notes

90

Since I just finished reviewing What-Cha’s China Yunnan Silver Needle White Tea, I figured I may as well go ahead and review the tea to which I directly compared it. Even though both teas were presumably identical, I ended up liking this one slightly more. As noted in my review of the other tea, I think that was a result of me naturally preferring Yunnan white teas that are brewed at a lower water temperature.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf buds in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 10 seconds. I chose a slightly different starting point for this session because of the lower water temperature. The initial infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf buds emitted aromas of hay, straw, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of marshmallow, wood, lemon, malt, and sugarcane. The first infusion saw the nose turn a little woodier and something of an indistinct nuttiness emerge. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, wood, hay, straw, malt, eucalyptus, and marshmallow backed by a hint of sugarcane. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn creamy, buttery, and a little spicier. Interestingly, the nose became noticeably fruitier too, as I detected pronounced aromas of honeydew and lychee. The aroma of vanilla that I noted so early in my review session of What-Cha’s Yunnan Silver Needle also appeared around this time. New notes of minerals, butter, cinnamon, honeydew, oats, peanut, cantaloupe, apricot, lychee, and lemon appeared in the mouth. A soft, subtle mape candy note was just barely detectable on the finish of several of the middle infusions. The final few infusions presented lingering notes of minerals, sugarcane, oats, cream, and eucalyptus backed by nigh ghostly hints of lychee, wood, straw, and honeydew, though bitterness and astringency took over on the finish.

Okay, the lower water temperature that I employed during this session clearly brought out different notes compared to the higher temperature I used for the What-Cha tea. I also noted that several shared components came out at different points, also likely due to the difference in water temperature. Compared to my treatment of the What-Cha tea, the preparation method I used here generated a softer, sweeter, fruitier tea liquor with less woodiness, nuttiness, and herbal character, and while I was able to stretch this session out more, there was a bitterness and astringency present in the final couple of infusions that I found somewhat distracting. Again, if I had to pick between the two, I would go with this tea as well as the preparation I used for it, though I do not know how the What-Cha tea would have reacted to the same temperature and an identical brewing method. It was clear to me that these were more or less identical teas, so I’m guessing that the results would have been pretty much the same for me.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cantaloupe, Cinnamon, Cream, Eucalyptus, Hay, Honeydew, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Maple, Marshmallow, Mineral, Oats, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

I think I am long past the point where I need to take a break on some of these backlogged reviews from May and June and move on to some of the teas I have consumed more recently. This review marks my decision to do just that. I have made it no secret that I have been trying more white teas recently in order to gain more of an appreciation of them. To that end, I bought quite a few white teas at the end of 2017 and earlier this year. I wanted to try a range of white teas, and I have been slowly getting around to working my way through a number of them. Interestingly enough, I ended up with several identical teas from different vendors. This white tea (a Feng Qing tea from Yunnan Province) is the same tea from the same harvest (spring 2017) as the Silver Needles White Tea of Feng Qing * Spring 2017 that I purchased from Yunnan Sourcing. What-Cha and Yunnan Sourcing recommended different water temperatures and preparation methods, however, so I decided to try the two teas back-to-back using an identical preparation method (gongfu), but with different water temperatures (What-Cha’s recommended temperature vs. the temperature I use for Yunnan Sourcing white teas).

Obviously, I prepared this tea gongfu style. I literally just said that at the end of the preceding paragraph. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf buds emitted aromas of hay, straw, marshmallow, sugarcane, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of wood, malt, and lemon. The first infusion then added aromas of vanilla, dried leaves, and cinnamon. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, hay, straw, sugarcane, marshmallow, and eucalyptus balanced by impressions of wood, malt, and vanilla. A hint of maple candy appeared on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn creamy, buttery, somewhat nutty, and spicier/more herbal. Cinnamon and dried leaves finally emerged in the mouth alongside new notes of minerals, camphor, tree bark, oats, apricot, fennel, nectar, honeydew, date, peanut, and cantaloupe. The final few infusions emphasized lingering mineral, oat, cream, butter, eucalyptus, and wood notes, though I could still occasionally note fleeting hints of honeydew, straw, peanut, and sugarcane in the background.

This was a very satisfying white tea, but I wish I had purchased more than a 10g sample pouch so I could have tried preparing it with a lower water temperature. I generally go with a water temperature around 176-180 F for Yunnan white teas, and I since I went with a temperature of 176 F for the Yunnan Sourcing tea, I would have liked to have tried this one at the same temperature to see if the results were identical. I noted that this tea had considerably less longevity on the nose and in the mouth at 194 F, though it thankfully did not display the bitterness or astringency the Yunnan Sourcing Feng Qing silver needles yielded during the longer infusions. I preferred the Yunnan Sourcing tea to this one, but I think that was a result of the difference in water temperature more than anything else. In the end, I would recommend this tea to fans of Yunnan white teas, but I would also advise such individuals to play around with the water temperature a bit in order to get the most out of this tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Camphor, Cantaloupe, Dates, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Hay, Honeydew, Malt, Maple, Marshmallow, Mineral, Nectar, Oats, Peanut, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85

Alright, let’s get another review out of the way before I get back to work. This was another of the What-Cha samples that I finished last month. I seem to recall working my way through this one around the start of the third week in June. I was on something of a mini green tea kick for several days around that time, so I am pretty sure that’s when I drank this tea. To be honest, I am not the hugest fan of jasmine green teas, but found this one to be rock solid. It was a pleasantly fragrant tea with admirable balance in the mouth.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled leaf and bud sets in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry phoenix eyes emitted a strong jasmine aroma underscored by a subtle grassy scent. After the rinse, the strong jasmine aroma was still present, but there was a little more of an underlying grassy scent and a new hint of cucumber. The first infusion saw the jasmine mellow a tad and a hint of zucchini emerge. In the mouth, I found notes of jasmine, grass, cucumber, and zucchini. There was a hint of umami there too. Subsequent infusions saw cream, butter, and umami appear on the nose. New impressions of cream, butter, hay, spinach, minerals, and sugarcane emerged in the mouth and were chased by subtle impressions of asparagus and apricot on the swallow. The final infusions offered lingering mineral, butter, and umami notes balanced by subtler impressions of jasmine, grass, and zucchini.

This was not the deepest or most complex jasmine green tea in the world, but it was very drinkable and pleasant. I appreciated the fact that the jasmine was neither consistently overpowering nor artificial. Overall, this was a very nice tea. If you are a fan of jasmine green teas, you will probably find a lot to enjoy about this one.

Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Butter, Cream, Cucumber, Grass, Hay, Jasmine, Mineral, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Zucchini

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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44

I have delayed posting this review for so long now. I finally decided to get it over with simply because I knew I had to get it out of the way at some point and wanted to be done with it. I dreaded posting this one so much mostly because I found this to be a really unexceptional tea. Normally, I like the Wuyi oolongs offered by Yunnan Sourcing, but this one did not do it for me in the least. For a Zhengyan tea, this was bland and poorly balanced with an unappealing texture in the mouth.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, char, pine smoke, and cedar. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted peanut, cannabis, and mushroom. The first infusion did not seem to offer anything new on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cinnamon, char, and roasted peanut backed by a subtle creaminess. Subsequent infusions saw aromas of black cherry, black pepper, rock sugar, ginger, and hibiscus emerge. Flavors of mushroom, cannabis, and pine smoke belatedly appeared in the mouth accompanied by stronger cream notes and faint hints of cedar. New impressions of malt, black cherry, rock sugar, ginger, black pepper, hibiscus, caramel, and minerals emerged along with some subtle candied orange peel notes. As I worked my way deeper into the session, I also noted some faint grass, roasted green bean, and tobacco notes that came out toward the finish on several infusions. The last few infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, cream, malt, roasted peanut, and mushroom backed by very faint rock sugar, tobacco, and candied orange peel notes.

Generally, Wuyi Shui Xian is strong on the nose and on the palate, but this one was oddly timid in a number of places. The mouthfeel was much thinner and slicker than expected, and several of the aroma and flavor components did not always work well together. This was an awkward and often somewhat unappealing tea overall; indeed, it was definitely one of the least likable teas of this type I have tried. If you are looking for a quality Zhengyan Shui Xian, I’ll be honest and just tell you that this one is likely not going to be the tea for which you are looking. There are much better teas of this type out there.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cannabis, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Ginger, Grass, Green Beans, Hibiscus, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Peanut, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
apefuzz

Yep, I had the same experience. Tasted like someone had already infused it eight times, dried the leaves out, then gave it to me to steep.

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65

This is another of the teas I finished back in May. If I recall correctly, I finished it sometime close to the end of the month. It was a tea I had a bit of trepidation about trying. Ginger is not one of my favorite things, and I had seen several other reviews of this tea that basically stated it was a subtle tea and may not be to everyone’s liking. I found that I shared those sentiments myself. Even though the ginger presence was thankfully not consistently overpowering throughout, this struck me as being mostly a very subtle, elegant tea not ideal for regular consumption.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves offered a clear ginger aroma supported by pungent fruit and flower aromas (almost like a mix of pomegranate and orchid) and a touch of bread-like character. After the rinse, the ginger aroma grew stronger while subtle red apple and vegetal scents emerged. The first infusion then saw the ginger aroma continue to dominate, this time mostly overwhelming the other scents offered by the leaves. In the mouth, notes of ginger, baked bread, butter, and orchid were chased by pungent fruity (pomegranate) and vegetal notes that I could not quite place before the ginger reasserted itself on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn nutty, fruitier, and more vegetal. New notes of minerals, roasted almond, red pear, wood, cinnamon, lemon zest, hibiscus, green pepper, and grass emerged in the mouth alongside subtler notes of red apple, radish, and turnip greens. The final infusions offered mineral, wood, roasted almond, and ginger notes with some barely perceptible fruity and vegetal undertones.

This was an interesting oolong, but it was not one that I would be in any rush to reacquire. I appreciated that the ginger aroma and flavor was carried throughout the session and that the tea offered a unique range of aroma and flavor components beyond the ginger, but I found some of the tea’s most appealing qualities to be a bit too subtle in most places. As mentioned earlier, I am not the hugest fan of ginger, so this tea was likely going to be a tough sale for me anyway. I’m just happy that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I guess that says something. People who enjoy the smell and taste of ginger would probably enjoy this tea quite a bit. It’s still not my thing, but I enjoyed my experience with this tea and would not caution fans of Dancong oolongs to avoid it.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Fruity, Ginger, Grass, Green Pepper, Hibiscus, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Red Apple, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

This was one of my more recent sipdowns, as I think I ended up finishing what I had of this tea around either the end of the third or beginning of the fourth week in June. At the time I started working my way through it, it was a tea that I had been wanting to try for some time. As mentioned several times before, I am a huge fan of Feng Qing teas, and this green tea was yet another Feng Qing product. I found it to be a very good Yunnan Mao Feng green tea, maybe not quite the best or the easiest-drinking I have ever had, but certainly very good.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud combination presented aromas of smoke, malt, corn husk, hay, and sorghum molasses. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of lemon zest, chestnut, and squash blossom. The first infusion then introduced aromas of bamboo and spinach. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of smoke, malt, corn husk, hay, lemon zest, and chestnut chased by bamboo shoot and spinach notes on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose take on a heavier and more complex citrus character as well as some apricot-like fruitiness. Notes of sorghum molasses and squash blossom finally appeared in the mouth, and lime zest, lettuce, umami, mineral, cream, grass, straw, seaweed, and green wood notes made themselves known as well. There were also some subtle fennel and sugarcane impressions lingering in the background. The final infusions offered mineral, malt, umami, grass, lettuce, spinach, and seaweed notes balanced by subtle sugarcane and corn husk impressions.

Compared to some of the other Yunnan Mao Feng green teas I have tried, this one was better balanced with less astringency. It also offered greater depth, complexity, and longevity both on the nose and in the mouth. Despite these positives, however, it was also a bit too robust in places and was a very filling tea. Still, this was a very good Yunnan green tea, one certainly worth a try for fans of such teas. I would recommend it to fans of Yunnan green teas who are looking for something a little busier, more complicated, and fuller-bodied than many standard Yunnan green teas.

Flavors: Apricot, Bamboo, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Fennel, Grass, Green Wood, Hay, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Straw, Sugarcane, Umami

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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91

Here is yet another review from my slowly shrinking backlog. I finished a sample pouch of this tea sometime around the end of May. Prior to trying it, I had never tried a purple oolong, but came away quite impressed. Though I found it to be a somewhat temperamental tea, I enjoyed trying it and would most likely be willing to buy more of it in the future.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of chocolate, plum, and malt. After the rinse, new aromas of blood orange, raisin, and fig emerged. The first infusion saw the plum aroma strengthen while subtle aromas of butter and cream also emerged. In the mouth, the tea liquor started off with a pronounced plum note before transitioning to reveal chocolate, butter, cream, malt, fig, and golden raisin flavors. Plum notes then reappeared on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose develop some bready, floral, and nutty characteristics. New flavors of wood, cinnamon, ginger, lemon zest, minerals, roasted beechnut, tart cherry, pear, baked bread, and roasted chestnut appeared in the mouth. Notes of blood orange belatedly emerged as well, and I even noted some floral impressions reminiscent of a combination of rose and violet on several infusions. The last infusions presented mineral, cream, butter, and pear impressions balanced by subtler wood, golden raisin, and plum notes.

A seemingly rustic tea with surprising depth and complexity, this made for a nice drinking experience. It certainly made me want to try some more Kenyan purple teas because, if this one is any indication, they have plenty to offer. I know I am the most extreme outlier with regard to my rating of this tea, but I really did find it to be that good. It reminded me of a lighter, sweeter Chinese purple black tea, but without the astringency and bitterness that those teas seem to frequently display. Definitely give this one a shot if you are open-minded and looking for something new and different.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Blood orange, Butter, Cherry, Chestnut, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Fig, Ginger, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Roasted nuts, Rose, Violet, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Blood orange was a note? Dang that is specific, and also a taste I love.

Daylon R Thomas

And I might try that one. The other purple varieties are usually too bitter for me, even if they are a moonlight variety.

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91

You know, as I started hammering out this review, it occurred to me that if I could manage to get at least one or two backlogged reviews posted each day for the next month, I would be all caught up by the first of August. I have no clue if I can manage that with demands on my time being what they are, but I’m going to try to get all caught up on my reviews by the start of the fall semester at the very latest. I finished a sample pouch of this tea around halfway through May. I recall trying this and another roasted Taiwanese Tieguanyin back-to-back and ended up being impressed by both. I especially appreciated this tea’s complexity and depth.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of wood, char, cinnamon, raisin, and banana. The rinse brought out a roasted peanut aroma as well as stronger aromas of wood and char. The first infusion then introduced aromas of cream and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, cream, dark wood, char, raisin, and caramelized banana backed by butter, pine smoke, and spruce tip impressions. Subsequent infusions saw the nose steadily become creamier, grainier, sugary, and more buttery. Stronger butter, pine smoke, and spruce tip notes appeared in the mouth alongside new flavors of minerals, plum, toasted rice, coffee, roasted barley, malt, and brown sugar. Notes of vanilla, raisin, and roasted peanut belatedly appeared, and I was just barely able to detect some hints of nutmeg as well. The final infusions offered mineral, dark wood, pine smoke, char, and cream notes backed by subtler impressions of roasted barley, toasted rice, malt, and raisin.

Though I have only found one or two dark roasted Tieguanyin oolongs that truly disappointed me, this was still among the better ones I have tried. It displayed great body and texture in the mouth to go along with tremendous depth, complexity, and longevity. I loved what the roast brought to the table, and I was even more impressed by the fact that it did not overpower the tea’s subtler qualities. An impressive offering all around, I think fans of heavier roasted oolongs would find a lot to like about this tea.

Flavors: banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Coffee, Cream, Dark Wood, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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63

This tea was yet another one of my forays into unique Chinese green teas. So-called purple teas, in general, are still somewhat new to me, and prior to trying this tea, I do not recall ever trying another green tea produced from a purple tea cultivar. If this tea is representative of all such teas, these purple green teas are very likely not for me. I can appreciate what this tea had to offer, but it did not offer the traits of Chinese green teas that I generally find to be most enjoyable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted muted aromas of roasted grain and roasted almond. The rinse brought out a stronger roasted almond aroma as well as an aroma of cooked spinach. The first infusion then saw the nose turn a little more vegetal while something of a berry-like presence started to make itself known. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted almond, roasted grain, cooked spinach, grass, and cream accompanied by hints of lemon. Subsequent infusions saw a touch of coffee appear on the nose with stronger berry tones and hints of woodiness. New flavors of coffee, blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, red grape, malt, minerals, wood, umami, and popcorn hull appeared as the liquor turned more bitter and more astringent. The final few infusions were dominated by mineral, umami, and wood notes backed by hints of grass, blueberry, roasted almond, and a late-emerging menthol-like quality.

This was such a strange and challenging tea. In terms of both smell and taste, there were numerous points where it reminded me more of a Dancong or Wuyi oolong than any kind of traditional green tea. The texture of the tea liquor was also something else. It was rather full-bodied, yet displayed an alternately grainy and slippery texture that made it hard for me to focus on the flavors it presented. In the end, I did not find this tea to be bad, but it most certainly was not for me. As mentioned earlier, it did not offer enough of what I tend to enjoy in a Chinese green tea, but then again, I doubt this tea was intended to compete with most other Chinese green teas. If you are into really quirky teas, this will probably be your thing. I, however, will likely be sticking with more traditional Chinese green teas for the foreseeable future.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Bitter, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Coffee, Cream, Grain, Grapes, Grass, Lemon, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Popcorn, Roasted, Spinach, Umami, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
apefuzz

I’m glad you reviewed this one. Purple teas can be interesting – they certainly have a unique flavor – but they are fairly bullyish and tend to dominate the flavors you would expect from the processing, as you note.

After trying white, black, and sheng purple tea processing, I think sheng pu’erh is the most successful vehicle for its flavors. I was curious how green processing would carry the flavors, but I don’t enjoy purple teas enough to have committed to a purchase. Sounds like it tastes about how I expected it too. Quirky teas for sure.

Togo

Personally, my favourite purple tea I have tried is the Feng Qing Ye Sheng Hong Cha from YS. Do you have any particular sheng in mind apefuzz?

apefuzz

2014 Dehong Ye Sheng white wrapper mini cake from YS was my favorite. Flavors were complex but balanced. I also have the 2013 autumn ye sheng, which wasn’t as much to my liking – less smooth, more punchy and smokey. Of course, I haven’t had either for a while, so I need to check in and see how they’re doing. I think I prefer purple sheng because the flavors make more sense. Finding fruity flavors like dried apricot, etc, is common, so the whallop of fruitiness from purple teas is a bit more normal. Plus the other powerful flavors of sheng can stand up better to the purple tea flavors.

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72

This green tea was something of a curiosity buy for me, as it was produced from a cultivar normally reserved for the production of Wuyi black teas. As everyone who reads my reviews is likely aware, I am a huge fan of traditional Chinese green teas. I, however, also have a big soft spot for odd and/or experimental teas, thus I simply could not pass on this one. In the end, I found it to be a rather likable, if somewhat delicate and temperamental, green tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. What-Cha recommended a water temperature of 167 F for this tea, but I normally brew Chinese green teas around 176 F, so I opted to go with my usual water temperature. The initial infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of grass, hay, malt, and corn husk. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of smoke, straw, and roasted chestnut. The first infusion then introduced a slight creaminess to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented corn husk, grass, hay, straw, roasted chestnut, and cream notes chased by hints of sugarcane sweetness. Subsequent infusions saw a citrus presence develop on the nose alongside hints of spinach, herbs, and sugarcane. New flavors of butter, lemon zest, spinach, hazelnut, seaweed, and minerals appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging malt and smoke notes and hints of fennel and umami. The last few infusions were dominated by mineral, cream, spinach, and seaweed notes, though some underlying impressions of sugarcane, roasted chestnut, and fennel could still be found.

After reading What-Cha’s description of this tea, I was expecting it to be minty or at least a little more herbal, but I found it to be more grassy and nutty with a pleasant sweetness and pronounced seaweed notes. That may have just been me, or it may have been due to my decision to use a water temperature that was higher than the vendor’s recommended water temperature. I cannot say for sure. What I can say, however, is that this was a pleasant enough green tea. If it were ever to be restocked, I have no clue if I would go out of my way to acquire more of it, but I did enjoy it for the most part. The only real complaints I had were that it faded rather quickly, and it was neither unique enough to consistently hold my attention nor powerful enough to hold its own against some of China’s other Bi Luo Chun green teas. Honestly, I am glad that I took the opportunity to try this tea, but I doubt I would ever rush back to it. Others who enjoy milder, nuttier, and/or more marine green teas may love it though.

Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Fennel, Grass, Hay, Hazelnut, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Sugarcane, Umami

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

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