Truly a step above
I didn’t have high hopes due to paul being primary a puer vendor. I also thought most shui xian cultivars were lower grade old bush or not. Short answer I was wrong, my faith in paul is reestablished. While yancha is not favorite tea or even oolong I do enjoy the flavor profile from time to time and this was a nice sunday treat.
Enough jibber jabber, warmed gaiwan I threw the leaves in and took a whiff. I smelled a fruity sweet dried red fruit profile along with a minerally/roasted strong background.
Super Complex and a real shapeshifter that progresses in a astonishing way. First I tasted sweet fruitiness coupled with a perfumy slightly floral almost reminded me of a yiwu profile but amped up sweetness. The sweet dried red fruit passed after a steep or two and gave way to a roasted rock taste. After a another two steeps the roast dissipated a all the remained was the shui xian leaf taste which amazed me because most shui xian I have had in the passed have been roast that predictably bled into mineral leaf taste where as this had a very complex fruitiness floral aspect that was layered on top. The sweetness I have experienced before in an da hong pao but even that tea didn’t have this kind of unique aroma layered on top. Even stranger I did a suicide steep (boiling water, half filled gaiwan, 10+ minute steep ) after I was thought the leaves were dead, and instead of a mouth puckering bitter astringent whiskey face I was greeted with a pure honey sweetness I had not even picked up on during my previous steeps?
Not sure about the caffiene as my tolerance is back up but I can say I did get a pinch of energy that was overpowered by a sigh of calm numbing tea drunk. I am far from a yancha connoisseur so I will not be purchasing at the current price. I trust this price is fair for the quality of leaf outside of china but as far as my oolong consumption goes it would be like taking a designer clothes on a hiking trip. The layered nature of this tea would be wasted on myself as I rarely brew oolongs and on the rare occasion I do I tend to brew haphazardly throw it in a slow pouring yixing that would surely drown the complexity.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Honey, Mineral, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Rosehips