I’m still killing off these oolong samples from Verdant. I forgot I had a few of these. This was one of several special release Tieguanyins from Master Zhang’s Collection a couple months ago. It was billed as approximating the aroma of tea flowers.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 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, I detected heavily floral aromas resembling a mixture of chrysanthemum, honeysuckle, gardenia, and tea flower coupled with scents of vanilla, cream, sweetgrass, and a touch of pine. After the rinse, scents of marigold and honey emerged alongside what I can only describe as watercress. The first infusion again produced a heavily floral aroma underscored by vegetal, savory characteristics. In the mouth, I detected a blend of vanilla, cream, butter, honeysuckle, gardenia, tea flower, chrysanthemum, pine needles, watercress, and sweetgrass. Subsequent infusions saw the honey and marigold arrive on the palate, while aromas and flavors of hay, soybean, snow pea, clover, orchid, sweet pea, and minerals expressed themselves at one point or another. The later infusions were mostly savory and vegetal, offering dominant mineral notes balanced by vanilla, cream, butter, honey, pine, watercress, and sweetgrass with just a touch of distant, indistinct floral character in the background.
This was a pleasant, easy-sipping Tieguanyin with a good deal of character. It reminded me of a more robust version of the Spring 2016 Tieguanyin, but with significantly more complexity. What made it so appealing for me was that despite the heaviness of the floral presence, there was enough going on aside from that to keep the tea from coming off as one-dimensional.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Orchid, Peas, Pine, Soybean, Vanilla, Vegetal