Moving from Dan Cong weirdness on to something a little more familiar, pleasant, and comforting, we come to this premium jade Tieguanyin from Anxi. What-Cha generally does a good job sourcing Tieguanyin, though their offerings seem to come from different producers more or less every year. Previous Tieguanyins offered by What-Cha have come from Gande Village, while this one came from a producer in Changkeng. This seemed to be a slightly lower grade tea than the What-Cha offerings I have previously tried, but it was still clearly a tea which came from an above-average picking and produced a very satisfying drinking session.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of custard, cream, vanilla, lilac, and grass. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of butter, coriander, cinnamon, and green apple. The first infusion introduced aromas of baked bread and steamed milk. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, coriander, watercress, butter, green apple, and lilac that were chased by hints of cinnamon, violet, custard, and baked bread. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of citrus, umami, pear, and pastry. Stronger and more immediate custard, violet, and baked bread impressions came out in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of cream and steamed milk. Notes of pear, minerals, daylily, apricot, orange zest, pastry, and orchid also showed up to the party. As I ended my review session, the tea liquor seemed to mostly be offering mineral, pear, grass, green apple, and cream notes that were balanced by hints of butter, umami, violet, and orange zest.

This was a satisfying and often interesting jade Anxi Tieguanyin with somewhat surprising longevity and a more overtly savory character than I have gotten out of a tea from the autumn harvest in some time. To me, the differences in terroir between this tea and some of the other Anxi Tieguanyin I have tried were pretty obvious. Even though I saw a little more broken, chewed-up leaf than I would have liked to see, this was still very much a quality offering that I would have no difficulty recommending to fans of jade Tieguanyin.

Flavors: Apricot, Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Milk, Mineral, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pastries, Pear, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, 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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