593 Tasting Notes

85

Here is another review from the seemingly endless backlog. I finished a 50g pouch of this tea a couple weeks ago, but I am only now getting around to reviewing it here. Prior to trying this tea, I did not have much experience with Chun Lan at all. It is not one of the more popular or common Wuyi oolong cultivars and it does not seem to attract the most favorable reviews from teaheads whose opinions regarding Wuyi teas I trust. In essence, this tea was uncharted territory for me, and I went into my review session for it with no expectations whatsoever. What happened? I ended up liking it.

Naturally, I gongfued this tea. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 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 aromas of mushroom, char, longan, black cherry, black raspberry, and cannabis. After the rinse, I found new aromas of roasted peanut and orchid. The first infusion then brought out some stronger roasted peanut and orchid aromas, but I otherwise noted nothing new. In the mouth, I found notes of char and roasted peanut on the entry that gave way to mellow notes of longan and rock sugar chased by hints of orchid. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn fruitier and simultaneously vegetal. Cannabis, black raspberry, and black cherry notes emerged in the mouth alongside new impressions of minerals, earth, blueberry, peach, candied orange peel, roasted zucchini, and some odd hints of strawberry. The final infusions emphasized lingering notes of rock sugar, minerals, bluberry, strawberry, and orchid balanced by subtler notes of roasted peanut, black raspberry, cannabis, and char.

This was kind of an odd oolong, but a very rewarding one nonetheless. I would now like to try a more recent harvest of this tea just to get an idea of how it can change from year to year. I’m not sure people just getting into Wuyi oolongs would be pleased with this one since it presents such an odd, powerful mix of aromas and flavors, but those who are more experienced with these teas should find quite a bit to like. I will therefore recommend this tea with the caveat that it probably should not be one of the first Wuyi oolongs those new to such teas should try.

Flavors: Blueberry, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Earth, Fruity, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Raspberry, Roasted, Strawberry, Sugar, Zucchini

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

Thank you for a thorough and helpful review, eastkyteaguy. Can I ask how do you manage to discern and identify so many different taste notes? Do you just sip tea next to a notebook and periodically exclaim “A-ha!”, scribble the next component down and then return to your meditation? Because I want to be like you but usually I am just overwhelmed by complex flavors and kinda give up. Is there a secret I could learn?

eastkyteaguy

Bluegreen, with my regard to my process, that’s exactly what I do. I keep a notebook that I write and scribble in while I drink tea. Every time something comes to mind, I note it. Then when I post here, I whittle down my notes into something (hopefully) coherent. I don’t sit and meditate or do anything special. Usually I’ll time an infusion, sniff the gaiwan, let the poured tea cool slightly, and then wander around the house sipping it until it’s time to go back for another. As far as identifying aromas and flavors goes, it just comes down to practice and exposing oneself to new things. As you go, you just try to make as many connections as you can in order to describe what you experience with each tea you try. They don’t necessarily have to be super exotic or even entirely consistent from session to session. As long as they make sense to you and accurately reflect your personal experience, that’s fine. Another thing you can do is look to how sellers and other reviewers describe sensations and then go from there. The power of suggestion comes into play at that point, but you can begin to get an idea of what others purport to experience and then compare your own experiences to theirs. Sometimes you’ll agree on some things and other times you won’t, but that’s okay because it’s really about documenting your own experience in a way that is satisfying to you at the time. You don’t know how many times I’ve posted something and then read what someone else had to say and thought to myself, “Damn, I wish I had noticed that!” So, to finally bring my rambling to a definite conclusion, there is no real secret to any of this as far as I’m concerned. It’s just patience, practice, and careful consideration. That’s all there is to it.

Bluegreen

Thank you eastkyteguy! I always looked at the previous reviews while drinking the tea in the first time and producing my own – and it felt like cheating. So now after learning that even such thorough and discerning people like you find other reviews a helpful aid to their own perception it makes me feel much better.

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87

Alright, I’m finally back. Not only have I been swamped at work for the last week, but I have had very limited internet access at home, so posting reviews ended up falling by the wayside for me. I finally managed to regain consistent internet access this morning, so now I am taking a break to get some stuff posted here. My lack of activity would not allow anyone to know it, but I have been on a huge Shui Xian kick for the last little bit and have taken to comparing teas from different terroirs. This tea went head to head with an old bush Zhengyan Shui Xian, and surprisingly enough, it came out the winner in my eyes.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed 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 leaves emitted aromas of char, pine, honey, and raisin underscored by a hint of cinnamon. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of stronger char and pine aromas as well as a hint of baked bread. The first infusion then introduced a hint of rock sugar to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of char, pine, honey, raisin, cinnamon, and a rock sugar backed by hints of baked bread. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn creamier and a bit spicier. New notes of minerals, cream, spruce, and juniper showed up in the mouth. The final infusions offered notes of minerals, char, and pine that quickly gave way to subtler notes of cream, raisin, and rock sugar.

At first, I did not know what to make of this tea. I am very used to Wuyi Shui Xian, so this seemed very soft and subtle in comparison. Taking my time with each infusion, however, yielded tremendous rewards. Once I adjusted to the tea’s softer, smoother, simpler character, I found an easy-drinking tea with admirable longevity and great texture in the mouth. Should What-Cha ever restock this tea, I will most definitely be buying more. It made for a great break from the heavier traditional Wuyi Shui Xian oolongs to which I am so accustomed.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Pine, Raisins, Sugar

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
What-Cha

Glad you enjoyed it, sadly the batches from my supplier were very inconsistent with some very heavy in twigs, so I’ve had to reluctantly drop the tea from the main lineup but I’ll bring it back occasionally as a mystery tea.

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81

I’ve been sitting in front of my monitor for what feels like forever trying to think of a lead-in for this review. I’ve been distracted most of that time, spending much of it watching old Alice Cooper music videos on YouTube. Times like these remind me that I desperately need to work on being more focused and disciplined. I also need to sit down one of these days and make a sincere effort to finally clean out my backlog of reviews. This is yet another on which I have been sitting. I bought a 25g pouch of this tea shortly before it went out of stock, probably around the end of 2016 or the start of 2017, finally working my way through it near the end of April. I’m a big fan of Da Hong Pao, and this one was very good, though it ultimately fell just a little short of being one of my favorites.

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. This infusion was followed by 16 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, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of char, cinnamon, pine, and raisin. The rinse then brought out new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, dark chocolate, pear, pomegranate, and lychee. The first infusion introduced a hint of black cherry to the nose as the pear and lychee aromas seemed to swell. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of char and pine on the entry before allowing notes of roasted nuts, cinnamon, raisin, pomegranate, and dark chocolate to emerge. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn woodier, fruitier, and spicier, as new impressions of cedar, ginger, black pepper, sauteed mushrooms, minerals, smoke, caramel, tobacco, clove, nougat, and rock sugar joined belatedly emerging notes of black cherry, pear, and lychee in the mouth. The final infusions displayed a sharp, dominant mineral presence and lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted peanut, pine, char, raisin, and rock sugar. I could also catch some background impressions of cinnamon, ginger, and lychee in places.

There was a lot to appreciate about this tea, but I felt that some of its most appealing qualities faded just a hair too quickly. As traditional Da Hong Pao goes, however, it was very good. The roast seemed heavy, but it had settled enough to allow the tea’s fruitiness and spiciness to shine. This has been out of stock for some time now, and though there are other teas of this type that I prefer, I would probably pick this one up again if it were ever restocked.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Ginger, Lychee, Mineral, Mushrooms, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Roasted, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco

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

Old Alice Cooper videos! Thanks for the tip :)

eastkyteaguy

Yeah, I’m a huge fan of older hard rock.

mrmopar

No more mrnice guy or schools out for summer.

eastkyteaguy

mrmopar, I love both of those songs, but if I have to pick between the two, I’ll go with “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

mrmopar

And I used to open doors for little old ladies….. Love that song. And lots of the older stuff. Ever hear of the Zombies or the Animals?

eastkyteaguy

Oh yeah. I feel like The Zombies could have gone so much further than they did. Odessey and Oracle is pretty much perfect though. With regard to The Animals, I only like their first incarnation, when they were just The Animals. After Eric Burdon took full control of the band and the name, they lost all appeal for me. I draw the line with them at Animalism.

mrmopar

Burdon changed them a lot. And yeah the Zombies were so right should have gone much farther. Golden Earring, Gerry Rafferty and Old Gordon Lightfoot are a couple more I like. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitxgerald. A haunting song not altogether hard rock though. I think our music tastes are similar for sure. I see some trivia messages coming up!

eastkyteaguy

I think a lot of the issue with The Animals was terrible management. I know that when their keyboardist, Alan Price, left due to his fear of flying and dissatisfaction with the state of the band, they lost probably their most important member. I know they then cut ties with their label, tried to regroup as a jazz band and failed, Eric Burdon took control of the band, and then they broke up. On another note, my dad is a huge Gordon Lightfoot fan and took me to see him live when I was like 11. I love the records he made in the sixties and seventies. I never got into Gerry Rafferty or Golden Earring, but one of my best friends loves the latter.

mrmopar

You saw Gordon I bet that was a treat. How about Billy Thorpe? Another group I thought would do really well was Asia. So much potential.

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60

I think I’m going to open this review/note with a quick life lesson for everyone. Think twice before taking a job with a family business. I have now been working for my family exclusively for over eight months, and I have learned that it is nigh impossible to maintain boundaries when you work for family. Take today for instance. I’m supposed to get the weekends off, but got called in to work prior to 8:30 a.m. I already knew I was going to have to work today regardless of how my schedule is supposed to run, but I was not expecting to be called in first thing in the morning. When you work for family, you are always on-call, you are always the first person to be called in, you can never truly have any peace or privacy, and you can never do enough. Should any of you ever consider leaving whatever job you’re working to work for family, think twice before you do it. You’re welcome.

Now with the above out of the way, let’s talk tea. I picked this tea up back around the start of 2017 and left it sitting unopened in my tea cabinet until I plowed my way through it a couple weeks ago. White tea is something I never rush to get around to simply because it tends to age well. To be honest, as long as you get to it within 24-36 months of harvest, you’re getting to it when it is still more or less at its best. Prior to trying this tea, I had never tried a Han Lu white tea, so I had no clue what to expect. Ultimately, I found this tea to fall somewhere between a sweeter, more floral Bai Mu Dan and a cleaner, less astringent Shou Mei if that makes any sense at all. It was not bad, but it faded sooner than I would have liked, and quite frankly, it did not strike me as being unique enough to repurchase.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 6 seconds. The recommended water temperature seemed high to me, but I opted to roll with it because I know some people do, in fact, favor higher water temperatures for certain white teas. The initial infusion was followed by 14 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material produced aromas of honey, malt, straw, carrot, and citrus. The rinse brought out new aromas of hay and radish. The first infusion then brought out hints of dandelion and pine on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered fairly well-developed notes of hay, straw, carrot, malt, honey, pomelo, and pine. Subsequent infusions saw the nose become creamier and maltier with a little more vegetal and floral character in places. New impressions of minerals, cream, butter, parsnip, and autumn leaf pile joined belatedly emerging notes of dandelion and radish. Hints of wintergreen oil and smoke could also be detected in places. The final infusions offered lingering impressions of minerals, hay, straw, cream, and malt backed by hints of pomelo, carrot, and dandelion.

At its best, this was an approachable white tea with a pleasant combination of aromas and flavors, but as mentioned earlier, its peak was brief. Due to all of the broken leaf material, this tea was also very difficult to cleanly brew gongfu, a common problem with teas like Bai Mudan and Shou Mei in my experience. I eventually ended up trying to brew this tea Western as well, hoping that it would offer a more consistent drinking experience, but alas, the Western brew was not nearly as flavorful as the gongfu brew at its best. For me, this tea ended up falling into a gray area. Not only did it fade a little too quickly, but it also had a little too much in common with several other types of more readily available and more affordable white teas for me to consider seeking it out again. I would not caution others to avoid this tea, but I would also offer the opinion that one already familiar with some of the more common Chinese white teas would not be missing out on much if they chose to skip it.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Carrot, Citrus, Cream, Dandelion, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Smoke, Straw, Vegetal

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

Sorry to hear that you are tormented by family—with little to no escape.
Won’t be the first time that torment and family found themselves in the same
sentence. Hope things ease up.

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90

Well, these last couple days have sucked. The neck injury is finally starting to heal, but I have been dealing with the return of spring sinus problems and a work schedule that has become totally insane. I have been running on only 8 1/2 hours of sleep for the last 48 hours, and to be honest, this feels like the only time I have had to sit down and do something for myself in like the last three days. I haven’t been drinking much tea lately due to the lack of time and sinus issues, so I figured I may as well get another of my backlogged reviews posted. I do not remember precisely when I finished what I had of this tea. I want to say it was somewhere around the third week of April, but I cannot be sure at this point. I know I liked this one a lot more than expected. Jade Tieguanyin does not exactly thrill me all that much these days, but this one was highly enjoyable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 208 F water for 10 seconds. This 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.

The dry tea leaves produced pleasant aromas of lilac, honeysuckle, cream, sweetgrass, and watercress prior to the rinse. After the rinse, I found new aromas of vanilla, violet, and saffron. The first infusion brought out a touch of custard on the nose. The tea liquor offered notes of sweetgrass and watercress on the entry before revealing notes of cream, vanilla, lilac, and saffron. A hint of violet then showed up on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn more savory and vegetal. Custard and honeysuckle belatedly came out in the mouth, while stronger violet notes emerged alongside mineral, orange zest, coriander, butter, pea, pear, and parsley impressions. The final infusions offered lingering mineral, cream, butter, sweetgrass, and pear notes backed by vague, ghostly traces of lilac and violet.

This was not the most complex jade Tieguanyin I have ever tried, but it was one of the most drinkable and pleasant. Teavivre normally does a good job sourcing teas of this type, but this was most certainly a step up from several of their other Tieguanyins in terms of quality. A very good tea for beginners and experienced drinkers alike, I would recommend that any fan of jade Tieguanyin give this one a shot.

Flavors: Butter, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Orange Zest, Parsley, Pear, Peas, Saffron, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Evol Ving Ness

I hope things ease up for you very soon.

LuckyMe

That’s brutal. Hope work calms down and you get feeling better

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94

I cannot believe that I am the first person to get around to reviewing this tea on Steepster. One of my more recent sipdowns, I finished a 10g sample pouch of this tea last week. First thing, what is going on with this tea’s name? I always been under the impression that teas of this sort were called Yin Jun Mei. Sorry, but “Silver Jun Mei” just seems weird to me. Silly name aside, this was an excellent black tea. I actually preferred it to What-Cha’s also totally excellent Jin Jun Mei.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent 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 aromas of dark chocolate, malt, pine, and roasted nuts. After the rinse, I found heavier pine and dark chocolate scents plus a new aroma of smoke. There was a hint of charcoal too. The first infusion brought out cleaner aromas of dark chocolate, pine, charcoal, and smoke as well as a stronger malt scent and a clear roasted chestnut aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, smoke, cream, pine, roasted chestnut, and dark chocolate. There were alternating notes of caramel and charcoal as well. On the swallow, I found an interesting and unexpected hint of cooked green beans. The subsequent infusions saw the nose turn a bit smoother. Stronger caramel and cooked green bean notes asserted themselves on the palate, while new flavors of brown sugar, orange zest, mesquite, raisin, date, and minerals emerged. When I pushed myself, I could also identify subtler impressions of honey, tobacco, sweet potato, and ginger. By the time I reached the final infusions, the tea was mostly presenting me with milder notes of minerals, orange zest, cooked green beans, malt, and cream balanced by vaguer honey, date, brown sugar, and raisin impressions in places.

I did not know what to expect going into this one, but I ended up being thrilled with what I got. This was an incredibly durable, complex tea with great texture and a unique combination of aromas and flavors that set it apart from some of the other Wuyi black teas I have tried recently. If you are looking for a black tea with a ton of character and do not mind a few interesting quirks, this would be a tea for you.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Char, Chestnut, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Ginger, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I wanted to try that one so bad, but it ran out of stock when I got the chance to buy some.

What-Cha

Sorry about the silly name, I was worried it would be too confusing to have both a Jin Jun Mei and a Yin Jun Mei on sale at the same time.

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73

Here is yet another blast from the past. I think I finished a sample pouch of this tea around two weeks ago, but failed to make an attempt to post a formal review until now. I know several previous reviewers really enjoyed this tea, but honestly, it did not do as much for me. I am used to the Laoshan black teas offered by vendors like Yunnan Sourcing and Verdant Tea, and compared to such offerings, this tea seemed to be harsh and a bit lacking. It was not terrible or anything, but it did suffer a bit compared to some of the other readily available offerings on the market.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 194 F water for 3 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 5 seconds, 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 aromas of cocoa, honey, and brown toast underscored by hints of cinnamon. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted chestnut, roasted walnut, and malt. The first infusion then brought out aromas of raisin, pine, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, malt, brown toast, and pine balanced by hints of cinnamon, cocoa, roasted nuts, and cream. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn woodier, maltier, and fruitier. Heavier notes of roasted nuts, cream, and cocoa appeared in the mouth. Raisin and black cherry flavors emerged alongside new notes of caramel, minerals, jujube, plum, burnt sugar, butter, juniper, damp grass, and butternut squash. Hints of anise and black licorice made themselves known on the swallow, leaving herbal, spicy impressions in the mouth. The final infusions were dominated by mineral, butter, cream, malt, and roasted walnut notes, though hints of cocoa, jujube, burnt sugar, caramel, and anise could be detected in the background rather consistently.

There was a lot going on in this tea, but it never came together in a way that satisfied me. Moreover, there were a few components that seemed either out of place or out of whack, rendering this tea somewhat unbalanced both on the nose and in the mouth. Though it was a deeper, more complex, and more challenging offering than the Laoshan black teas I have tried in the past, it was neither as pleasant nor as approachable. In the end, I would not caution Laoshan tea aficionados to avoid this tea, but I certainly would encourage people to think twice before committing to the purchase of a considerable amount of it.

Flavors: Anise, Brown Toast, Butter, Butternut Squash, Caramel, Cherry, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Licorice, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Sugar, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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68

I have a few free minutes right now, so I will at least get a start on cleaning out the backlog. I finished a sample pouch of this tea several weeks ago, though I cannot pinpoint a precise date. While I generally tend to like the teas that What-Cha sources from PT Harendong Green Farm, this one ended up being my least favorite of the ones I have tried. It was still not a bad rolled oolong by any means, but it did not display quite as much character as I would have liked.

Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 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, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted mildly floral and fruity aromas. I could not pick up on much of anything specific. After the rinse, I found more pronounced scents of orchid, cream, and vanilla underscored by some stone fruit character. The first infusion then introduced aromas of violet and butter to the tea’s bouquet. The tea liquor started off crisp and clean in the mouth before hints of orchid, vanilla, butter, cream, and apricot started to emerge. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn a bit fruitier, though vegetal qualities also appeared. Stronger flavors of orchid, vanilla, butter, cream, and apricot were apparent in the mouth, while new impressions of sugarcane, minerals, grass, spinach, seaweed, pear, and peach also made themselves known. Violet notes appeared in the mouth as well. The final infusions emphasized lingering orchid, mineral, and sugarcane notes, though some faint wisps of butter, spinach, and seaweed were also still present in the background.

This oolong was decidedly different from the Taiwan Cui Yu oolongs I often enjoy, but unfortunately, it started off timid in the mouth and then faded rather quickly. The mouthfeel of the tea liquor was also somewhat thin for my liking. The aromas and flavors that were present during this tea’s comparatively brief peak were highly enjoyable, however, and that alone pushed me to appreciate what this tea had to offer. Harendong produces better oolongs, but I still do not regret trying this one. Fans of Taiwanese jade oolongs should at least consider giving this tea shot. If nothing else, it very capably demonstrates the effects that a different terroir can have on a tea cultivar.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cream, Grass, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet

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

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90

This was my most recent sipdown. I had difficulty sleeping last night due to neck spasms, thus I stayed up late drinking tea and listening to music. At first, I was unimpressed by this flavored/scented oolong, but it grew on me in a big way over the course of my review session.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled, scented tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 194 F water for 10 seconds. This 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 leaves emitted aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, and sticky rice. After the rinse, I noted emerging sugarcane and custard aromas and an almost overpowering sticky rice scent. The first infusion saw the sticky rice absolutely dominate the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered strong notes of sticky rice, cream, butter, vanilla, and custard chased by hints of sugarcane and banana. Subsequent infusions gradually softened, revealing mineral, popcorn, grass, daylily shoot, spinach, and seaweed impressions in the mouth. The scent of sticky rice continued to dominate the nose, but it gradually smoothed out, allowing the scents of cream, butter, vanilla, sugarcane, and custard to reassert themselves somewhat. A hint of popcorn also gradually became evident on the nose. The final infusions were very soft and smooth, offering lingering sticky rice, butter, and mineral notes balanced by somewhat subtler impressions of vanilla, cream, popcorn, and seaweed.

I was tempted to give up on this tea after the first three infusions. Though I love sticky rice, this tea was way too heavy on the sticky rice aromas and flavors in the early goings. As I pressed forward, however, the characteristics of the tea began to assert themselves more and a nice balance of Jin Xuan and sticky rice was achieved. Due to this occurrence, I found that my opinion of this tea had done a complete 180 by the time I wrapped up my review session. Definitely a tea worth trying, give this one a shot if you are the sort of person who enjoys flavored oolongs.

Flavors: banana, Butter, Cream, Custard, Grass, Popcorn, Rice, Seaweed, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
CrowKettle

Yay! Glad this one worked out for you in the end :)

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91

It seems like every time I get started on getting my backlogged reviews posted, something happens that puts me further behind. This week it has been a combination of work craziness and a neck injury. The latter is nothing too serious, but my mobility is somewhat limited at the moment and will continue to be for at least the next two or three days. I’ve been able to keep up my drinking schedule, however, and have made more progress on the sample mountain, finishing a sample pouch of this tea around three or four days ago. Though Jin Jun Mei is normally not one of my things, I greatly enjoyed this one.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 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, I detected aromas of honey, smoke, sweet potato, and sorghum molasses coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of malt and roasted walnut. The first infusion brought out a creamy scent as well as a quality that was almost floral. In the mouth, I noted flavors of smoke, cream, malt, sweet potato, sorghum molasses, roasted walnut, and roasted chestnut. Oddly, I detected no honey in the mouth, but I did get a fairly pronounced note of brown sugar on the swallow. Subsequent infusions displayed even stronger honey, sorghum molasses, and sweet potato aromas as well as something of an increased nuttiness. There were some touches of brown sugar on the nose too. New flavors of candied ginger, minerals, orange peel, and caramel revealed themselves alongside stronger notes of brown sugar and subtle, belatedly emerging impressions of honey. The final infusions offered mineral, cream, and caramel notes balanced by touches of candied ginger, brown sugar, and orange peel.

A pleasant and relatively durable Wuyi black tea, this was not quite what I was expecting. I figured that this tea would be incredibly honeyed and sweet, but this was smoother and more balanced with a nice, crisp, sharp texture in the mouth. I’m still not entirely sold on Jin Jun Mei, but this tea made me appreciate teas of this style more. For fans of traditional Wuyi black teas, this would most certainly be a tea worth trying.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chestnut, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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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KY

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