This is another review from the backlog. I finished a pouch of this tea sometime around mid-late February, but forgot to post a review here. I am now remedying that. At the time I was working my way through what I had of this tea, I recall thinking that it was very good, yet perhaps a little odd and a little difficult. Going back through my session notes, I still stand by that opinion. This struck me as being the sort of tea I would not mind having on hand, but would only drink occasionally.

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 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.

The dry tea leaves emitted aromas of char, cinnamon, burnt wood, dark chocolate, birch, and sweet cherry prior to the rinse. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of roasted almond and rock sugar underscored by a hint of rose. The first real infusion brought forth aromas of smoke, roasted peanut, and honey as well as a stronger rock sugar scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially offered a smooth mouthfeel with notes of char, cinnamon, burnt wood, sweet cherry, birch bark, rock sugar, and roasted almond. The finish, however, brought out fleeting impressions of roasted grain, grass, and smoke. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of cream, cannabis, leather, minerals, apricot, orange, peach, toasted sesame, pine, and grilled zucchini. In addition to the new impressions just listed, the notes of roasted grain grew stronger while flavors of rose, honey, roasted peanut, and dark chocolate also belatedly appeared. The later infusions emphasized lingering notes of minerals, cream, rose, honey, and roasted nuts underscored by toasted sesame, char, roasted grain, sweet cherry, and rock sugar.

Overall, this was an interesting and rather intense tea. There was a lot to process about it, thus making it more suitable for situations that allow for quiet, patient, highly focused sniffing and sipping than anything else. There were times when I found the constant multi-directional tug of war among the tea’s flavor components to be a little overwhelming. Also, this is a minor quibble, but given the name, I was expecting a much more overtly floral tea. In the end, I guess I can sum this tea up by stating that I see why some others thought so highly of it, but I found it to be the sort of tea for which I would have to be in the mood. Ultimately, I would recommend that curious drinkers, especially those familiar with Wuyi oolongs, give this one a shot, but do not expect a tea that will avoid challenging you.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Bark, Burnt, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Grass, Honey, Leather, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Sugar, Wood, Zucchini

205 °F / 96 °C 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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