92

Yeah, let’s throw another one or two of these things out there before calling it a night. Why not? This was the last of the reviews from March in my backlog. Every time I sat down and tried to post this review, I ended up having something come up, or I just skipped over it in favor of reviewing something more recent. Anyway, this was an excellent Bai Hao oolong. I was a little shocked to see the ridiculous range of numerical scores for this tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of roasted almond, straw, honey, peach, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of rose, violet, chocolate, malt, and baked bread. The first infusion introduced aromas of nutmeg and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted almond, rose, honey, straw, cinnamon, and baked bread that were chased by hints of nutmeg, violet, chocolate, and orange zest. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of pear, vanilla, sweet cherry, wood, plum, butter, guava, and minerals. Notes of peach and malt came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more readily noticeable impressions of orange zest and violet. Notes of nutmeg, minerals, plum, cream, vanilla, wood, guava, roasted peanut, sweet cherry, butter, marshmallow, brown sugar, and golden apple also emerged. As the tea faded, the liquor began to emphasize lingering impressions of minerals, rose, violet, roasted almond, honey, cinnamon, baked bread, butter, cream, peach, sweet cherry, and orange zest that were underscored by hints of vanilla, wood, malt, plum, nutmeg, guava, and pear.

This was a really nice example of a Taiwanese Bai Hao (Asian Beauty) oolong. It produced a liquor that had a ton of depth and complexity as well as a nice body and good texture in the mouth. Again, the ridiculous range of numerical scores for this tea shocks me. Even though I have not tried a ton of Asian Beauty oolongs, I have had several very high quality teas of this type, and honestly, I would say this one was very comparable to some of the best I have tried.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Guava, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Rose, Straw, Vanilla, Violet, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Kittenna

I was curious, so I took a quick look – it looks like scores range from 66-96? With Harney themselves as the top score facepalm. Were there other scores that have since been deleted?

eastkyteaguy

No, but it was just odd for me to see so much disagreement over how this tea should be scored. A lot of reviews seemed to hover in the 70s or 80s, but the range seemed rather extreme overall. I didn’t notice the Harney rating until right before I posted this review. While it is annoying to see a vendor gaming the ratings, Harney doing it doesn’t bother me as badly because they don’t seem to be doing this any longer, and they also don’t seem to give everything they offer ridiculously high scores.

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Kittenna

I was curious, so I took a quick look – it looks like scores range from 66-96? With Harney themselves as the top score facepalm. Were there other scores that have since been deleted?

eastkyteaguy

No, but it was just odd for me to see so much disagreement over how this tea should be scored. A lot of reviews seemed to hover in the 70s or 80s, but the range seemed rather extreme overall. I didn’t notice the Harney rating until right before I posted this review. While it is annoying to see a vendor gaming the ratings, Harney doing it doesn’t bother me as badly because they don’t seem to be doing this any longer, and they also don’t seem to give everything they offer ridiculously high scores.

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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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