292 Tasting Notes

63

Guess what! I’m back again. It has been way too long. I was forced to spend the majority of last week in a caffeine-free funk due to a work-related training in Louisville. This is the first opportunity I have had to try a new tea since before I left. I, of course, had to pick an oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 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 produced lovely aromas of honey, apricot, red osmanthus, raisins, dates, and prunes. After the rinse, I picked up stronger honey, raisin, and date scents accompanied by emerging impressions of fig and wood. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet. In the mouth, I detected slight notes of dates, fig, raisins, prunes, apricot, nectarine, honey, and red osmanthus with an underlying complex of malt, toast, and wood. I should have gotten thicker, more expressive flavors, so this steep was clearly too short. The second infusion offered some improvement in the flavor department, but nothing new. The tea did not really hit its stride until the third or fourth infusion in the series. At that point, I was picking up everything previously mentioned plus hints of hay, butter, cream, and eucalyptus. The following infusions grew ever gentler, milder, and more savory as malt, toast, butter, eucalyptus, cream, hay, and wood began to increasingly define the tea’s aroma and flavor profiles. Later infusions were mostly a wash of wood, hay, cream, and butter underpinned by minerals and hints of dried fruit, red osmanthus, and honey.

Let’s ignore the fact that I botched the start of this session for a moment and concede that this came across as a very smooth, pleasant, approachable tea. Unfortunately, it also struck me as being all of these things in a fleeting and superficial sort of way. Its most appealing aromas and flavors faded fast, and while they never entirely disappeared, I did not find enough to hold my interest later on in this session. Indeed, I could have probably squeezed at least one more infusion out of this tea, but I did not see much of a point in attempting it. The tea had already said all it had to say. Overall, this was a decent, likable oolong, but it was not really my kind of tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cream, Dates, Eucalyptus, Fig, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Osmanthus, Raisins, Toast, Wood

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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60

Continuing my series of high mountain oolong reviews this morning, we come to this Ali Shan oolong from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company. Curiously enough, I actually used 4 grams of this tea to do a multi-step Western session Saturday evening, but wasn’t thrilled with the results. I spent Sunday focusing on What-Cha’s excellent Ali Shan and then used the remaining 6 grams of this tea for a gongfu session early this morning while preparing for a conference out of town.

After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 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 subtle aromas of butter, cream, grass, and leaf lettuce. After the rinse, the leaf lettuce scent emerged more fully, while subtle floral and vanilla scents also began to make themselves known. The first infusion produced a more balanced bouquet with slightly more vanilla and more distinct floral scents of lilac, hyacinth, and honeysuckle. In the mouth, I picked up surprisingly muted notes of grass, butter, cream, and vanilla chased by a ghostly floral note. Subsequent infusions were a little more assertive, offering fleeting impressions of lilac, hyacinth, osmanthus, honeysuckle, apricot, coconut, mango, and hay at one point or another. The later infusions were smooth, yet rather bland, offering subtle butter, cream, grass, and leaf lettuce impressions underscored by faint fruitiness and minerals.

Honestly, I have had a few hours to process my feelings regarding this tea and I’m still not thrilled by it. This tea was so soft and clean on the nose and in the mouth and the more interesting aromas and flavors were so elusive that I found it difficult to remain interested in it over the course of the session. I pretty much stopped taking notes a little after the halfway point. Even the feel provided by this one was very timid and restrained. Compared to the Ali Shan from What-Cha, I found this one to be boring. It didn’t strike me as being bad, just boring and somewhat lightweight, maybe even a little bland overall. I would still recommend that curious drinkers give it a chance, but I do have to say that there are better Ali Shan oolongs out there.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Grass, Hay, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mango, Mineral, Osmanthus

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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92

It seems I can’t refrain from hitting the Taiwanese high mountain oolongs these days. After having an oolong from Fushou Shan yesterday evening, I had to go with an Ali Shan today. Before I get to the tea itself, allow me to state that I have been guilty of displaying tremendous ambivalence toward Ali Shan oolongs in the past. For some reason, I have always found them to be predictable, lightweight, and boring. This tea forced me to reevaluate my leanings toward these teas.

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 10 seconds. I was a little confused over the water temperature. The sample pouch suggested 176 F, but What-Cha’s website suggested 185 F. I ultimately went with the water temperature suggested on the sample pouch. The initial infusion was followed by 11 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 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 gave off pleasant aromas of butter, cream, vanilla, grass, and flowers. After the rinse, the butter, cream, and vanilla aromas intensified. They were joined by a subtle scent of custard as aromas of gardenia, lilac, and honeysuckle emerged. The first infusion produced a more balanced aroma with a stronger custard presence. In the mouth, the liquor was very smooth and savory. I detected notes of butter, cream, custard, vanilla, and grass balanced by traces of gardenia, lilac, and honeysuckle. Subsequent infusions saw the impressions of honeysuckle, gardenia, and lilac intensify. Aromas and flavors of tangerine, cucumber, magnolia, and minerals also emerged. Later infusions were dominated by butter, cream, grass, and minerals underscored by tangerine and a distant floral presence.

This was an interesting oolong. I’m used to Ali Shan oolongs that are kind of slight and lacking in staying power, but this one went the distance. While the aroma and flavor profiles were neither particularly complex nor anything out of the ordinary for a high mountain oolong, they were very pleasant. This tea also displayed a light, yet subtly textured body, and it provided a gentle, immediate calming sensation that was highly enjoyable. For me, this one was a winner. What-Cha’s Taiwanese oolongs continue to impress me.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

How does it compare to the Li Shan? I’ve been tempted to get it, but decide not to thinking that it might be a hint too vegetal.

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, I found it to compare pretty well to the Li Shan. Of the two, I prefer the Li Shan. I found it to be more balanced. To me, this tea was a little sweeter and more savory. I think both are very good, but I still prefer the Li Shan.

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94

I’m beginning to really enjoy my daily oolong sessions. They calm me, and oddly enough, they don’t give me much trouble sleeping. I dug this tea out of the sample pile last night and decided to go with it. As a side note, every time I think I’m making headway on reducing the number of samples I have on hand, I find two or three more. They’ll all be gone one of these days.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was then followed by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 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 wonderful aromas of butter, cream, vanilla, hyacinth, lilac, honeysuckle, gardenia, and grass. After the rinse, the floral aromas intensified and were joined by traces of sweet cinnamon and cucumber. The first infusion produced a more balanced bouquet. In the mouth, I easily detected notes of grass, butter, cucumber, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and fresh flowers. Subsequent infusions allowed the tea’s floral qualities to really shine. I began to pick up a hint of orchid, while impressions of pear, peach, and honeydew emerged. Later infusions were mostly buttery, creamy, and grassy. Minerals emerged fairly late in the session. I was able to detect a note of lime that I hadn’t noticed before, as well as traces of honeydew, cucumber, vanilla, and flowers beneath the dominant impressions of butter, cream, and grass.

This was an extremely nice high mountain oolong. It was complex and flavorful without being particularly heavy or overly flavor-forward. It also displayed wonderful body and texture in the mouth. I would definitely have no problem recommending this tea to anyone looking for a quality Taiwanese oolong.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Lime, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
LuckyMe

I find the same to be true about oolongs. They are more calming than energizing. I can get away with a late oolong session sometimes, but not with black or even green tea.

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90

I recently received a 5 gram dragon ball of this tea as a free sample with an order from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company. Since I’m still sick, I’m trying to watch my caffeine intake. It had been way out of hand for a number of months, and not only had burn out fully set in, but I was becoming increasingly prone to infections. I’m trying to stick with a single session, either Western or gongfu, per day, though I do plan to take at least one off day each week. Anyway, getting back on track here, I found this to be a pleasant white tea with which to close out the day.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped the 5 gram dragon ball in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 10 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 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 ball emitted mild aromas of honey, nuts, elderflower, and fruit. After the rinse, the aromas of honey, nuts, elderflower, and fruit intensified and a slightly yeasty, bready aroma began to emerge. The first infusion produced a bouquet primarily comprised of yeast roll, honey, almond, elderflower, and elderberry aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor displayed a smooth, silky texture and mild notes of butter, elderflower, elderberry, yellow plum, and yeast rolls. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of sweet cherry, almond, white peach, and rose underscored by barely perceptible traces of hay and menthol. Later infusions maintained the tea’s smoothness in the mouth, while the nose and palate began to increasingly emphasize the almond, butter, and yeast roll impressions. Subtle impressions of honey, elderberry, cherry, and hay lingered in the background. A very fine minerality also showed itself.

This was an interesting tea. I don’t have a ton of experience with Shou Mei, but this struck me as being a very good, very sophisticated one. I got practically no astringency at all. In the end, I would have no problem recommending this tea to anyone looking for a quality white tea.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Menthol, Mineral, Peach, Plums, Rose

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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78

It’s been several days since I’ve posted a review here on Steepster. I ended up sick again over the weekend and cut back my tea consumption to virtually nothing. I think I’m once again starting to recover, but I’m not at a point where I can handle anything heavy. This was the tea with which I chose to break my silence. I figured something mild was in order for this evening.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. I kept my rinse short (only 4-5 seconds). After the rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 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 a soft, mild fragrance of cream, butter, vanilla, lilac, and hyacinth rounded out by something of an indistinct vegetal character. After the rinse, I detected more pronounced scents of butter and vanilla as new aromas of cucumber and puff pastry started to emerge. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet that offered more fully formed scents of puff pastry and cucumber. In the mouth, I mostly found muted notes of cream, butter, and vanilla chased by ghostly floral and vegetal presences. Subsequent infusions offered a little more variety. The butter, cream, and vanilla notes were strengthened. Simultaneously, the puff pastry and cucumber impressions appeared alongside emerging aromas and flavors of honeydew, butterscotch, kale, and leaf lettuce. To be honest, I did not find this to be a particularly floral oolong. There was a faint floral presence in the mouth, but the little bit of floral presence I found tended to most clearly express itself on the nose. Later infusions were mostly buttery and vegetal with a slight minerality towards the finish.

Hmm, this was such a light tea. I have noticed that many of Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s oolong offerings over the past year or so have primarily leaned towards displaying soft, full, smoothly textured bodies and mildly savory, vegetal and/or grassy characters with just a hint of fruit and/or flowers to provide some depth. This tea certainly did not buck that trend. I found it to be a very clean, pure, refined tea with a nice mouthfeel.

Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Honeydew, Kale, Lettuce, Mineral, Pastries, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Good to hear that you are on the mend. Tricky time of year.

eastkyteaguy

No kidding. I’m so sick of getting sick every single time I turn around.

Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like you might be needing a strand of garlic around your neck.

eastkyteaguy

I’d be willing to try anything.

Nattie

Hope you’re feeling better!

eastkyteaguy

Nattie, thank you.

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81

We have another sample sipdown here. I received this with an order from Whispering Pines Tea Company sometime during the summer of 2016. I found it in the very back of one of my tea cabinets yesterday evening, enjoyed a couple of cups, and then finished the rest of it off this morning. It was a nice Laoshan green tea, though it lacked the fruitiness of some similar teas from other vendors.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick 3-4 second rinse (I don’t always rinse green and black teas, but felt like doing so here), I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 175 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 produced aromas of freshly cut grass, hay, soybean, peas, and spinach. After the rinse, the aforementioned aromas were joined by roasted grain and asparagus. The first infusion produced a more balanced bouquet with all of the elements listed above. I detected robust notes of freshly cut grass, peas, soybean, spinach, and hay underscored by less prominent notes of roasted grain and asparagus in the mouth. Subsequent infusions saw the grassiness and the pronounced soybean character mellow a little, as the notes of peas, spinach, and asparagus grew stronger. The roasted grain character began to remind me more of toasted rice at this point, while a subtle mineral presence began to pop up on the finish. The later infusions were mostly dominated by minerals and lingering traces of peas, asparagus, and toasted rice. Very faint impressions of soybean, hay, and grass could be found at times as well.

I have made it no secret that I tend to be a huge fan of Laoshan teas, but I have grown accustomed to Laoshan green teas that provide something of an underlying fruity sweetness. I did not find that characteristic in this tea. It was a very grassy, grainy, vegetal tea. I imagine that it would please fans of grassy, vegetal Chinese green teas, and while I found it to be a satisfying tea overall, I still cannot help feeling that it was missing just a little something.

Flavors: Asparagus, Freshly Cut Grass, Grain, Hay, Mineral, Peas, Soybean, Spinach, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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91

For a long time, I have avoided reviewing Dan Cong oolongs mostly out of lack of familiarity and a previous bad experience with them. I have acquired several Dan Congs over the last several months, however, and resolved myself to seriously start working my way through some of them in the immediate future. Last night my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up doing a session with this tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 6 seconds. I had heard that some people really pack their gaiwans for Dan Cong brewing, but that was not the way I chose to go here. My research indicated that most Dan Cong oolongs are recognized as having a slick, soapy texture that can be very divisive among tea drinkers. Not wanting a soapy, harsh brew, I stuck to the old rule of 1-1.5 grams of loose tea per fluid ounce. It worked out well. After the first infusion, I conducted a series of 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 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 gave off lovely aromas of honey, orchid, nuts, and grass. After the rinse, the tea’s floral aroma swelled. The first infusion allowed indistinct hints of fruit and toast to creep into the mix. In the mouth, I detected a pleasant blend of honey, nuts, grass, rye toast, and of course, orchid. There was a little fruitiness in the background, but nothing too distinctive. Subsequent infusions really heavily emphasized the honey, grass, and orchid notes, while impressions of lychee, pear, peach, mango, and apricot blossomed on the nose and palate. I also noted a fleeting sugarcane sweetness on a couple of these infusions. The later infusions were mild and rather vegetal, as the lingering aromas and flavors of grass were framed by traces of minerals, honey, lychee, peach, nuts, and orchid. Throughout the session, the tea was only mildly to moderately soapy with a thin body and a slight sharpness. It was much more drinkable and pleasant than I was expecting.

As far as assigning a numerical rating goes, I am probably going to hold off for a little while. I really enjoyed this tea, but it is very difficult for me to confidently assign a rating due to my lack of experience with teas of this type. Regardless of my inexperience, however, I do think this is a high quality tea. It went the distance in a long session, and I greatly respect it for that. It also featured a pleasant and largely complimentary blend of aromas and flavors. It may not matter all that much, but I found a lot to like here.

Flavors: Apricot, Grass, Honey, Lychee, Mango, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Rye, Sugarcane, Toast

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
BigDaddy

Welcome to Dan Cong Xanadu, glad you could make it. It is the most fickle and fussy categories of tea to get ahead of. Don’t get discouraged there are some gems out there. Good luck in your adventures.

eastkyteaguy

I liked this one, but yeah, it was a little difficult on which to get a handle. The more I think about it, the more inclined I am to hover around the 89-91 range in terms of numerical score. I’m all about honey and orchids, and since this tea smelled and tasted like both, I’m now all about this tea.

Daylon R Thomas

Looks like I’ll try that in my next order. Problem is I still have some Dan Cong from Berylleb I’m reluctant to finish off lol.

Daylon R Thomas

Also, Liquid Proust is a good person to talk to about Dan Congs. They are also my personal favorite on the darker oolong side, though they are not THAT dark.

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91

Let me begin this review by saying that sometimes I forget what I have in my tea cabinets and storage totes. Literally, I sometimes buy something, put it aside, and then forget about it. I got so wrapped in finishing off some of the aged oolong samples I had lying around that I totally forgot about this black tea. What’s worse is that I started working my way through this one a couple weeks ago, took a few preliminary notes, and then shoved it far in the back of one of the tea cabinets. I rediscovered it a couple days ago, tested it to make sure it was still viable, and made a point of taking the time to finish it before moving on to something else.

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 5 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 gave off mild aromas of camphor, chocolate, and sweet potato. After the rinse, the camphor, chocolate, and sweet potato aromas intensified and were joined by scents of malt, toast, and wood. The first infusion produced a similar, though more balanced bouquet. In the mouth, I mostly picked up mild notes of toast, malt, wood, and sweet potato underscored by subtle notes of chocolate, cream, and camphor. Subsequent infusions were more intense and robust, offering stronger impressions of chocolate, malt, cream, wood, camphor, toast, and sweet potato. Impressions of molasses, baked bread, butter, wildflower honey, and orange emerged at this point. A subtle minerality also began to make its mark on the finish. Later infusions were dominated by impressions of minerals, toast, baked bread, and wood, though fleeting impressions of orange, chocolate, sweet potato, wildflower honey, and camphor lingered in the background.

This was a super nice, supremely easy-drinking black tea. I loved how refined the aromas and flavors were, and I thought the smoothness of the body was extremely appealing. This was definitely one of the better black teas I have tried in recent months. I would recommend it highly to anyone looking for a sophisticated Chinese black tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Camphor, Chocolate, Cream, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Wood

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

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90

Alright, I am in the process of getting rid of some of these aged oolongs. I only had a sample of this one and I ended up drinking it yesterday evening. For me, these aged oolongs from Verdant have been so hit or miss. I thought the aged Mao Xie was pretty much excellent, but the two aged Tieguanyins I had prior to this one I found to be more or less awful. This one turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After an approximately 10 second rinse, I steeped the full 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 13 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 gave off pronounced aromas of vanilla and flowers. Verdant describes the floral characteristic as being similar to lilikoi blossoms, and I have to say that I found that description to be eerily accurate. There were also traces of cedar, citrus, and aloeswood incense on the nose. After the rinse, the floral aromas grew stronger, as did the aromas of cedar, citrus, and aloeswood. Aromas of sticky rice and wood began to emerge as well. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet that once again saw the vanilla assert itself. In the mouth, robust notes of vanilla, lilikoi, and sticky rice dominated the entry before giving way to an interesting combination of aloeswood, cedar, wood bark, butter, and citrus notes. The finish was long and smooth, emphasizing vanilla and sticky rice notes underscored by aloeswood, cedar, and lilikoi. Subsequent infusions grew fruitier and somewhat more floral. The indistinct citrus notes morphed into more clearly defined notes of kumquat, while sweeter notes of blueberry and marionberry emerged. I also began to catch a ghostly hint of orchid, while mineral notes began to emerge toward the finish. The later infusions were increasingly dominated by minerals and lingering notes of butter, vanilla, and wood bark, though fleeting impressions of flowers, aloeswood, marionberry, and citrus were still just barely detectable in the background.

Compared to the other two aged Tieguanyins I have tried, this was a totally different experience. Unlike the other two, this one was quite enjoyable. I greatly appreciated its smooth body and its unique aroma and flavor profiles. What ultimately made all the difference for me was that this tea still resembled an oolong, and a quality oolong at that. I could not say that about the other two.

Flavors: Bark, Blueberry, Butter, Cedar, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Orchid, Rice, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Ken

This one was that different from the 1990? I just had the aged Tieguanyin cake from their monthly club and it was really good.

eastkyteaguy

Ken, I thought so. The 1990 tea was extremely woody, earthy, and fungal, whereas this tea was floral, sweet, fruity, and savory. In comparison, this tea was much more mellow, the components of its aroma and flavor profiles were more appealing, and it was more drinkable. Oddly, this was actually one of two different versions of their 1985 Aged Tieguanyin. Both were very different. The other I found to be very earthy with a somewhat muddled flavor profile.

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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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