Going through all of these backlogged reviews, I have encountered several teas I do not recall drinking all that clearly. This was one of them. I took very thorough session notes, but unfortunately, I never dated them. If I had to guess, I would say that I probably finished what I had of this tea around 1-2 weeks ago. I do recall liking this tea and found it to be a very approachable baked Tieguanyin that was very forgiving during the brewing process.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 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, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of banana, char, dark wood, and spice coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of cinnamon, roasted peanut, and raisin. The first infusion brought out a stronger roasted peanut aroma and some slight vegetal character. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of golden raisin, caramelized banana, cinnamon, vanilla, butter, char, and roasted peanut backed by hints of dark wood and vague vegetal character. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn smoother, and oddly enough, a little more vegetal. New impressions of ginseng, cocoa, cream, prune, damp grass, watercress, banana leaf, cattail shoots, orchid, brown sugar, sour plum, lemon zest, baked bread, and roasted grain emerged in the mouth. The final infusions were dominated by mineral, char, butter, and cream notes that were balanced by subtler vegetal impressions and hints of dark wood and roasted peanut.
I wasn’t too sure about this tea at first, but it steadily grew on me. Ultimately, I found this to be an approachable tea with satisfying depth and complexity. It was a little thinner in the mouth than anticipated, but that is a relatively minor quibble and probably no big deal for many people. If you have any interest in baked Tieguanyin, this would be a good one with which to start or a tasty, reliable daily drinker.
Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Wood, Dried Fruit, Grain, Grass, Herbaceous, Lemon Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Vanilla, Vegetal