This was my next-to-last August sipdown. It was also a tea I expected to like a little more than I did. Understand that I’m not saying that I found it to be subpar in any way; I’m just such a huge fan of Feng Qing black teas that I expected this one to leave a greater impression. As it turned out, I found this to be a very good tea, but I also found it to be a little underpowered compared to some of the other Feng Qing offerings I have tried over the past couple of years.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry buds emitted aromas of chocolate, malt, cream, cedar, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, raisin, and banana that were underscored by subtle smoke and eucalyptus scents. The first infusion introduced aromas of vanilla, butter, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, raisin, and chocolate that were chased by roasted almond, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, honey, and cedar hints. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of honey, camphor, maple syrup, marshmallow, roasted pecan, praline, earth, black pepper, and lemon zest as well as subtle scents of tomato. Much stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of roasted almond, vanilla, butter, honey, brown sugar, and baked bread appeared in the mouth. I also picked up new impressions of maple syrup, praline, roasted pecan, pear, plum, banana, tomato, minerals, lemon zest, orange zest, earth, and marshmallow. There were even some subtle hints of cinnamon, black pepper, eucalyptus, smoke, and camphor that could be detected. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, earth, baked bread, chocolate, lemon zest, orange zest, and roasted almond that were balanced by a melange of roasted pecan, marshmallow, vanilla, brown sugar, tomato, honey, butter, camphor, and eucalyptus hints.
This was a nice tea, one that struck me as being reserved and refined but also perhaps a bit stuffy. It had a ton to offer, but rather than laying everything out in a straightforward fashion, it made me work to get definite impressions out of it. It would definitely not be the sort of tea I would choose to consume on a regular basis, though I would most certainly be willing to try some of the productions from the more recent harvests because I’m still not certain I was able to get the best feel for what this tea had to offer.
Flavors: Almond, banana, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Maple Syrup, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Pecan, Plum, Raisins, Smoke, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal