779 Tasting Notes

91

This was another recent sipdown of mine. I finished what I had of this tea a little earlier in the month, but I am not certain exactly when that was. Like most of the Dancong oolongs Yunnan Sourcing carries, this one was very good, great even. Prior to trying this tea, I recalled enjoying their spring 2016 Wu Dong Ba Xian greatly, but at the time, I had no real experience with Ba Xian and didn’t really know what to look for in one or what I should be trying to get out of the drinking experience. With a little more experience under my belt, I got more out of this tea and found it to be much more complex. There was, however, some nagging astringency toward the end of my review session that distracted me a bit, and I also found the tea’s most appealing characteristics to fade rather quickly.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of orchid, magnolia, pomegranate, cherry, cream, vanilla, and orange zest. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of almond, spinach, sugarcane, pomelo, apple, and honey. The first infusion brought out aromas of baked bread and custard. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, vanilla, baked bread, sugarcane, pomegranate, apple, cherry, orchid, and pomelo that were chased by impressions of magnolia and hints of orange zest, almond, and spinach. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of pear, plum, wood, grass, jasmine, lychee, peach, orange blossom, and green bell pepper. Notes of pear, grass, plum, wood, lychee, minerals, white grape, peach, orange blossom, and green bell pepper came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediate notes of almond, orange zest, and spinach, pleasant honey notes, and hints of custard and jasmine. Once the tea started to fade, the liquor settled and began emphasizing notes of minerals, grass, apple, almond, green bell pepper, cream, wood, pear, orange zest, and white grape that were underscored by hints of spinach, vanilla, baked bread, cherry, honey, and pomegranate. As mentioned above, a noticeable astringency also came out around this time.

There was a lot to like about this tea, but the astringency that kept coming out once it started to settle and fade really bothered me for some reason. It just seemed so distracting. Still, it did not come close to sinking the drinking experience for me, and one should always expect some astringency and/or bitterness with Dancong oolongs anyway. Had this tea carried some of its absolutely gorgeous floral notes into the later infusions and had the astringency not gotten to me, I would have had no issue assigning this tea a score of 95 or higher, but unfortunately, neither of those things happened. Just to be clear, though, this was still a more or less excellent Dancong oolong.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Jasmine, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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83

This was another of last week’s sipdowns. This was also a tea I had no clue whether or not I’d like. For the most part, I am not a fan of flavored/scented oolongs, but I do love Taiwanese Si Ji Chun oolongs, and I am also a huge fan of Earl Grey. Still, I had no clue what to expect from this tea. I assumed it would either be really good or really bad. Luckily for me, I found it to be a more or less very good offering. It wasn’t perfect; however, it was very enjoyable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of dry tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, vanilla, custard, honeysuckle, lemon zest, and bergamot. After the rinse, I detected a stronger bergamot aroma as well as scents of butter and slight scents of orchid. The first infusion brought out aromas of grass and baked bread as well as slight scents of violet and jasmine. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of lemon zest, grass, bergamot, violet, cream, vanilla, and honeysuckle that were chased by hints of baked bread, butter, and spinach. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of lime and spinach. There were also some hints of umami on the nose. Stronger and more immediate notes of baked bread, butter, and spinach appeared in the mouth alongside notes of orchid and custard as well as hints of jasmine. Mineral, umami, lime, pear, honey, and green apple notes emerged, and I also picked up hints of seaweed. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering mineral, cream, bergamot, butter, lime, lemon zest and grass notes that were balanced by umami, spinach, seaweed, custard, honey, vanilla, pear, and baked bread hints.

Ultimately, this tea did not end up being anything too crazy, and for that, I was very grateful. The bergamot actually worked with the oolong, emphasizing the citrus and flower aromas and flavors one would expect to find in a green Si Ji Chun while also adding some sharpness and some complimentary notes that one would otherwise not expect to find. Though I thought the bergamot oil could have been dialed back just a bit, this was a still a very good, very enjoyable tea, one that Earl Grey fans and haters alike could probably get behind.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Butter, Cream, Custard, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lemon Zest, Lime, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75

I feel like I have been away from Steepster for way too long. Fortunately, I have not been drinking a ton of different teas as I have been focused on finishing some of teas of which I purchased larger amounts. This was one of my more recent sipdowns; I think I finished what I had of this tea last week. Though I tend to greatly enjoy Nepalese black teas, I have yet to find a Nepalese golden tip black tea that absolutely captivates me. Clearly, this one did not do that.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. At least a couple people had suggested that I try to gongfu either a Nepalese black tea or a Darjeeling black tea, and I finally decided to give it a shot. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased 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 tea leaves produced aromas of malt, baked bread, chocolate, honey, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I picked up aromas of roasted almond, brown sugar, violet, and banana. The first infusion introduced aromas of rose, orange zest, roasted peanut, and raisin. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, sweet potato, brown sugar, banana, and roasted almond that were backed by hints of rose, honey, chocolate, and orange zest. The subsequent infusions saw the previously mentioned floral aromas become more dominant on the nose, while new aromas of lemon zest and pine also made themselves known. The tea liquor presented much stronger and more immediate notes of rose, honey, chocolate, and orange zest. Baked bread, raisin, and violet notes belatedly emerged, and new impressions of minerals, pine, molasses, caramel, cream, earth, and lemon zest also appeared. I even managed to pick out some hints of roasted peanut, plum, juniper, raspberry, and black cherry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, cream, caramel, pine, malt, and earth notes that were balanced by more delicate impressions of raisin, baked bread, brown sugar, honey, sweet potato, and orange zest.

This black tea displayed some lovely aromas and flavors, but I found it to fade rather quickly. Many of its most appealing characteristics also displayed a tendency to blend together, creating a muddled rush of flavors in the mouth and thus a drinking experience frequently lacking in dynamism. All of this being said, this tea did display a lovely body and great texture in the mouth and had enough to offer in the flavor department to be satisfying. Furthermore, its energy was just right as it was neither too weak nor too strong. Overall, I found this tea to be more or less solid. I have had better teas of this type, but I would be willing to try a future production of this one (if one were to ever be offered) and would not caution others to avoid it. In the end, a score of 75 feels about right to me.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Raspberry, Rose, Sweet Potatoes, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

This was the second of my sipdowns for the current month and a tea that I had been meaning to get around to reviewing for some time. I’ve long been interested in some of the more experimental teas coming out of India and Nepal, and I was really curious about what this tea had to offer. I expected it to be at least somewhat different from the other Darjeeling oolongs I had tried, but what I did not count on was just how unique it would turn out to be. I also found myself enjoying it way more than I expected I would.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the 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 chased 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 autumn leaves, pine, malt, almond, and smoke. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of peanut, grass, hay, and rose as well as something along the lines of turnip greens. The first infusion brought out aromas of cream, butter, spinach, and green bell pepper. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of autumn leaves, pine, malt, rose, hay, grass, almond, butter, and pear that were backed by hints of smoke, peanut, green bell pepper, cream, and white grape. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of apple, pear, dandelion, orange zest, and apricot. Stronger and more immediate notes of green bell pepper and cream appeared in the mouth along with hints of spinach, dandelion greens, and turnip greens. I also picked up notes of minerals, dandelion, walnut, apricot, apple, peach, orange zest, and marigold. I noticed the liquor turned more astringent too, especially on each swallow. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, apple, pear, almond, grass, autumn leaves, green bell pepper, and dandelion that were backed by hints of cream, apricot, peach, rose, and malt.

An odd and interesting Darjeeling oolong that capably balanced vegetal, nutty, and woody characteristics and warmer, more welcoming floral and fruity characteristics, I could see fans of very balanced yet quirky teas being into this offering. It was a challenging and unpredictable tea, but it was never inaccessible. That’s a hard balance to pull off, especially with a more experimental offering. This one is definitely worth a shot if you are into some of the oolongs coming out of India these days.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Rose, Smoke, Spinach, Vegetal, Walnut, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

This was the first of current month’s sipdowns. I wanted to start February off with something a little different, so I went through my What-Cha hoard, found this tea, decided that it had been far too long since I had reviewed an oolong from Nepal, and then immediately tore into it. I found it to be a near excellent Nepalese oolong, though I found the body and texture to be lacking at times.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, malt, chocolate, roasted almond, raisin, and prune. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, wood, brown sugar, and blackberry that were accompanied by subtle touches of tobacco and cannabis. The first infusion introduced aromas of anise, violet, candied orange, Muscatel, and honey. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented me with notes of honey, malt, roasted almond, cream, prune, raisin, and wood that were chased by hints of brown sugar, tobacco, chocolate, Muscatel, and butter. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of rose, cherry, celery, plum, orange blossom, butter, cream, and vanilla that were accompanied by some smoky accents. Hints of hay, cannabis, roasted peanut, blueberry, and anise came out in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of candied orange and violet. I also picked up some hints of smoke, black raspberry, and popcorn as well as more dominant impressions of minerals, nutmeg, rose, vanilla, orange blossom, cinnamon, cherry, plum, and celery. As the liquor faded, I primarily detected notes of minerals, malt, wood, cream, roasted almond, and vanilla as well as stronger roasted peanut and hay impressions. There were also some fleeting hints of Muscatel, tobacco, cherry, plum, black raspberry, raisin, popcorn, nutmeg, and butter lingering in the background.

This was a strong and incredibly complex Nepalese oolong with a gorgeous mix of aroma and flavor components. I just wish that the body had not struck me as being so thin and the texture of the tea liquor had not seemed so lifeless in many places. One of the greatest things about Nepalese teas is the little bit of sharpness their liquors display, but I did not get much of that with this tea, and quite frankly, I found myself missing it greatly. I, however, did not miss that characteristic enough to score this tea less than 90. It was still a fascinating tea with a tremendous amount to offer, so I could not justify abstaining from giving it a high rating. If you are looking for an incredibly complex and satisfying Nepalese oolong and do not mind a couple slight imperfections, then this would be a tea for you to try.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Cannabis, Celery, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Blossom, Peanut, Plums, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Tobacco, Vanilla, Violet, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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86

This was one of a couple tea reviews from the fall of 2018 that I needed to post here. I finished a sample pouch of this tea back in November, but I unfortunately did not get around to posting it here on Steepster prior to the end of the year. Prior to trying this tea, I had never tried a Wuyi white tea. In terms of appearance, the tea looked very similar to a traditional Bai Mudan, and the similarities did not stop there. The aroma and flavor profiles of this tea also displayed some marked similarities to a Bai Mudan, though this tea displayed the expected Wuyi minerality and was much heavier, livelier, and more energizing.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose bud and leaf mix in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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 leaf and bud mix emitted aromas of pine, smoke, cedar, and hay. After the rinse, I detected an aroma of roasted peanut that was accompanied by hints of honey. The first infusion introduced aromas of toasted rice and char. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of smoke, hay, pine, cedar, and toasted rice that were balanced by impressions of char, roasted peanut, and roasted barley. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of malt, autumn leaves, and roasted almond. New impressions of malt, minerals, caramel, cream, autumn leaves, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging honey notes and hints of mushroom and birch bark. As the tea faded, the tea liquor emphasized lingering mineral, malt, roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and hay notes that were balanced by subtler impressions of cream, mushroom, autumn leaves, and cedar.

This was a very interesting and potent white tea that was full of the nutty, grainy, woody, and mineral notes so typical of Wuyi teas. It definitely showed off the influence of its terroir as it captured the qualities that make Wuyi teas so unique and treasured. That being said, I felt that it was missing some subtlety and could also have used a little additional sweetness or some sort of floral component to balance out all of the heavier notes. To be clear, this was a very good white tea, but I felt that it was missing a few elements that would have made it even better. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for other white teas from Old Ways Tea, though, as this first stab at white tea production indicates to me that their partners have the potential to produce some truly excellent white teas after this one.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cream, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Peanut, Pine, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Toasted Rice

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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92

This was the last tea I consumed in January. I needed a break from Dan Cong oolongs at the time, so I turned back to one of my first loves: Wuyi black tea. I usually enjoy Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, but I had no clue what to expect from this one. The spring 2016 version of this tea was not a favorite of mine, so I went into the review session for this one not expecting much. As it turned out, this tea pretty much blew me away. It was not nearly as bitter or astringent as the spring 2016 offering and also displayed greatly improved depth and complexity.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased 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 tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, pine, chocolate, cinnamon, and baked bread. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and malt. The first infusion introduced aromas of rose, orange zest, cedar, and juniper. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, baked bread, malt, roasted almond, roasted peanut, earth, orange zest, and rose that were accompanied by hints of chocolate and chased by pleasant creamy and toasty qualities on the swallow. The subsequent infusions introduced stronger aromas of rose as well as scents of wintergreen, violet, minerals, earth, grass, toast, vanilla, red apple, cream, brown sugar, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediate chocolate, cream, and toast notes appeared in the mouth along with impressions of pine, cinnamon, and cedar and a few stray hints of juniper. New notes of brown sugar, minerals, wintergreen, plum, violet, red apple, vanilla, lemon zest, pear, vanilla, grass, and oats emerged, and I also picked up some hints of hay. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized dominant impressions of minerals, cream, malt, oats, lemon zest, orange zest, grass, earth, and baked bread that were balanced by hints of violet, vanilla, rose, pear, roasted almond, pine, cinnamon, red apple, wintergreen, and honey.

This was a ridiculously complex Wuyi black tea that yielded an incredibly aromatic, flavorful, and textured liquor. Even more impressive is the fact that it was so well-balanced. Nothing seemed out of place or over-emphasized to me. Overall, this was an exceptional black tea. Had it not faded rather quickly, I would have scored it much closer to 100.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Rose, Toast, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

This was the last of the Dan Cong oolongs I consumed in January. It seems that 2017 was a good year for Dan Cong teas as the overwhelming majority of the 2017 Dan Cong oolongs I have tried from Yunnan Sourcing have been very good. This one was no exception. I found it to be more complex than the Spring 2016 Bai Ye I tried last year, though I also found this tea to have a bit of a bite and to not be quite as smooth.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orchid, pomegranate, nectarine, candied pomelo, and cherry. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of lotus, honey, hibiscus, orange blossom, and almond. The first infusion brought out aromas of spinach, baked bread, and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of nectarine, pomegranate, honey, orchid, candied pomelo, and cherry that were chased by slightly subtler impressions of almond, baked bread, butter, and vanilla. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of green bell pepper, chili leaf, vanilla, and wood. Lotus, hibiscus, and orange blossom notes emerged in the mouth along with hints of spinach. Impressions of cream, minerals, chili leaf, green bell pepper, pear, wood, lychee, peach, and white grape also appeared. As the tea faded, lingering mineral, green bell pepper, baked bread, cream, butter, wood, and almond were underscored by hints of lotus, orchid, vanilla, spinach, candied pomelo, white grape, and peach.

This was a very nice Bai Ye, but I found it to be slightly prickly and sharp in places; the tea’s woodier and more vegetal qualities sometimes undercut its gorgeous floral and fruity characteristics. Still, this was a very good Dan Cong oolong, one that fans of such teas would likely appreciate greatly. Even though there are smoother Bai Ye oolongs out there, one could do far, far worse than give this one a shot.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Green Bell Peppers, Hibiscus, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Spinach, Stonefruits, Vanilla, Vegetal, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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95

This was my most recent sipdown. I finished what I had of this tea a couple days ago. Unfortunately, I only had 10 grams to play with since I received this tea as part of Taiwan Tea Crafts’ Aged Tea Sampler back in either the spring or summer of 2017. This and the three other teas in the sampler were left sitting undisturbed in their tin at the back of my tea cabinet until curiosity got the better of me. I never rush to try aged teas because I figure there is no real best by date for them; they are already old, and I have teas in my cupboard that really need to be consumed within 12-36 months of harvest. A tea that is processed with aging in mind and that is already more or less a decade old when I receive it can wait until I finish some of the younger, more sensitive stuff. With the way I have been plowing through Dan Cong oolongs, however, a break was necessary in order to avoid burnout, and I ended up choosing this tea simply because I wanted to see if it was still worth drinking. Well, it most certainly was. This was a very heavily roasted oolong, one clearly processed for aging. As I tend to love many heavily roasted Taiwanese oolongs, there was never much doubt in my mind that this tea would go over well with me. Those who do not tend to favor teas to which a heavy roast has been applied, however, may want to steer clear of this one because the roast that was applied to this tea was almost ridiculously heavy.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 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, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cedar, pine, char, smoke, old paper, raisin, black cherry, and blackberry. After the rinse, I detected stronger smoke on the nose as well as aromas of char, cream, and roasted barley. The first infusion saw the smokiness dissipate just a bit as scents of toasted rice, burnt toast, malt, and butter emerged. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, roasted barley, toasted rice, char, smoke, cedar, pine, old paper, butter, malt, and burnt toast that were underscored by raisin, brown sugar, blackberry, and black cherry accents. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cinnamon, roasted peanut, tar, black currant, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, and blueberry. New impressions of minerals, cinnamon, roasted peanut, tar, fig, vanilla, blueberry, plum, black currant, caramel, and cocoa appeared in the mouth along with subtle hints of black pepper. As the tea began to fade, the tea liquor settled and emphasized lingering impressions of minerals, malt, roasted peanut, pine, cedar, cream, butter, toasted rice, char, smoke, and roasted barley that were underscored by hints of brown sugar, black cherry, raisin, blueberry, and vanilla.

By the time I ended my review session, this tea clearly had more to give, but it was very late at that point, and I was not prepared to take it any further. Honestly, I probably should have gone with a higher water temperature for this session, but my throat was a little sore and I was trying not to burn myself. The 195 F water still worked, so I cannot complain about the results I got. This was an excellent aged oolong, but from the description above, it should be apparent to anyone who reads this review that this tea was full of the types of aromas and flavors one tends to find in more heavily roasted Taiwanese oolongs. If heavily roasted oolong is not one of your things, then I doubt this tea will appeal to you in the least, but if you are the sort of person who loves what such teas have to offer, you will find a ton to love about this one.

Flavors: Black Currant, Black Pepper, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Burnt, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Fig, Malt, Mineral, Paper, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Tar, Toast, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Evol Ving Ness

You realize, don’t you, that one day, all of us are showing up with our sample packets on your doorstep for a mass extended gong fun. Get ready :)

eastkyteaguy

Sounds terrifying.

Evol Ving Ness

I aim to please. :)

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96

Here is yet another recent sipdown of mine. I finished what I had of this tea at the start of the week. It was another unfamiliar Dan Cong oolong for me. I had heard good things about Lao Xian Ong, but had never tried a tea produced from the cultivar prior to this one. It seems to be less common than some of the other varieties out there. Interestingly, it appears that Yunnan Sourcing did not offer a spring 2018 version of this tea, instead offering a middle mountain Lao Xian Ong from a different village. That is a shame because this tea was a beauty.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orange, peach, nectarine, orchid, and vanilla. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of green bell pepper, grass, cherry, cream, and baked bread. The first infusion introduced aromas of nutmeg, spinach, and almond. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of orange, peach, orchid, vanilla, cream, almond, baked bread, butter, and cherry that were chased by hints of green bell pepper and grass. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of violet, butter, pear, apple, pineapple, plum, plumeria, and orange blossom. Hints of spinach came out in the mouth alongside nutmeg, almond, and nectarine notes. New impressions of minerals, lychee, pear, orange blossom, violet, plum, pineapple, apple, plumeria, and white grape also appeared. As the tea faded, the tea liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, orange, plum, cream, butter, vanilla, almond, and cherry that were underscored by hints of nectarine, grass, white grape, lychee, and spinach.

This was a very interesting tea. Despite the complexity of the tea’s bouquet, it was frequently subtler on the nose than it was in the mouth. Each transition from the sniff to the snip was like a sudden punch, and it was like that pretty much the entire session. Even though I knew more or less what was coming at me on each infusion, I was always pleasantly surprised by the strength of the tea liquor; it kept drawing me back for more over and over again. Honestly, I probably could have gotten a little more out of this tea, but unfortunately, I started my review session late and only had enough for the one session. I finally just had to cut if off so I could get some sleep. Anyway, this was a special tea. I hope that Yunnan Sourcing will be able to bring this one back in the near future.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Lychee, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Spinach, Stonefruits, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bio

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.

Location

KY

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