This was the last of the 2017 Donyi Polo tea samples I acquired from Teabox in the second half of last year. It ended up being my favorite of the group. I was especially impressed by this tea’s depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth as well as the thick, silky mouthfeel of the tea liquor.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose leaf and bud mix in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed 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 leaf and bud mix produced aromas of baked bread, honey, sugarcane, malt, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of molasses, caramel, marigold, eucalyptus, and cucumber. The first infusion brought out scents of rose, violet, and chocolate. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sugarcane, baked bread, malt, honey, marigold and sweet potato that were chased by subtle rose, chocolate, and violet impressions. The following infusions introduced aromas of vanilla, lemon zest, tangerine, geranium, and wintergreen to accompany a suddenly amplified chocolate aroma. Stronger rose, chocolate, and violet notes appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging impressions of cucumber, caramel, molasses, and wintergreen. Impressions of minerals, vanilla, wintergreen, geranium, tangerine, watermelon, and lemon zest also appeared. By the end of the session, I was picking up dominant notes of minerals, malt, wintergreen, cucumber, watermelon, and lemon zest that were backed by hints of mixed flowers, eucalyptus, and sugarcane.

This was an absolutely gorgeous tea. Despite such an odd and complicated mix of aromas and flavors, everything present in this tea worked well together. There were no rough edges. The combination of depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth and the rich, silky, thick mouthfeel of the tea liquor made for a truly decadent drinking experience. A true connoisseur’s tea, I recommend this one highly to anyone looking for a quality Indian oolong and/or a great tea from one of India’s less widely heralded locales.

Flavors: Bread, Caramel, Chocolate, Citrus, Cucumber, Eucalyptus, Floral, Geranium, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Melon, Molasses, Rose, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Violet

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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