I’m dipping into the backlog yet again with this review. I finished the remainder of my pouch of this tea a couple days ago, but I’m only just now getting around to posting a review here on Steepster. When I’m not geeking out over black teas, Taiwanese high mountain oolongs, Dancong oolongs, Anxi oolongs, and assorted Chinese green teas, I have this ongoing project where I attempt to rate Si Da Ming Cong Wuyi oolongs offered by popular vendors. I have fallen behind on it in recent months, but over the course of the last year and a half, I have managed to review at least two oolongs made from each of the other three Si Da Ming Cong cultivars (Qi Dan [Da Hong Pao], Bai Ji Guan, and Shui Jin Gui) from several popular vendors. This is the first Tie Luohan I have gotten around to reviewing on Steepster, and I have to say that I greatly enjoyed it. The roast had settled by the time I got around to trying this tea and seemed to have been lighter than expected to begin with, allowing a number of appealing fruity and spicy notes ample opportunity to shine.
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 followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves offered aromas of cinnamon, ginger, dark wood, sandalwood, char, rock sugar, and berries. The rinse brought out a hint of roasted peanut on the nose. The first proper infusion then added something of a cooked vegetable scent to the tea’s bouquet. In the mouth, I found impressions of roasted peanut, sandalwood, char, dark wood, and rock sugar balanced by hints of cooked greens, spices, and citrus. The subsequent infusions introduced definite notes of ginger, cinnamon, and orange in the mouth, while new notes of baked bread, cream, vanilla, pear, lychee, honey, smoke, and minerals began to make themselves known. Clear notes of elderberry and raspberry also appeared in the mouth on these infusions. The later infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, cream, and roasted peanut with lingering hints of rock sugar, honey, and dark wood. At times, I could also find some berry and/or stone fruit tartness.
I’m more accustomed to Tie Luohans with a heavier roast, but this seemingly lighter roasted version was extremely nice. I especially appreciated this tea’s unique fruity qualities and could see it making both a great daily drinker for Wuyi oolong aficionados and a wonderful introduction to the Tie Luohan cultivar for newcomers. If you are at all interested in the Si Da Ming Cong Wuyi oolongs, this would be one worth trying.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Wood, Fruity, Ginger, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Orange, Peanut, Pear, Raspberry, Smoke, Sugar, Vanilla, Vegetal