7 Tasting Notes
For my most recent session with this tea, I just about doubled the leaf:water ratio. Short steeps from about 5-15 seconds (20 max). It seems like 90 C water works best in this case. I’m really enjoying it. The flavors are about the same, maybe slightly more complex, but overall more intense and linger longer. There is a very slight added astringency but it’s so mild. Later aftertaste is mildy mint-like. The cha qi is again calming but more intense. Meditative and focusing. Honestly, this tea seems underrated to me. Maybe the summer 2017 batch is just better than previous years.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Licorice, Sweet Potatoes, Umami
I really enjoyed this tea! To me, it was like a more interesting, less floral and vegetal high mountain Taiwanese oolong. What I mean is it was very sweet, but it had more complex flavors that changed with each steep. Also, after a single sip, the flavor would bounce back and forth from sweet to sour notes. It’s mildly dry, which seems to help the flavor coat your mouth and last after swallowing. This is a tea I would always like to have on hand.
The curled dry leaves are dark and small, with a sort of sweet fresh pastry/nutty aroma. Maybe a little fruitiness, too.
I brewed gong fu style in a gaiwan, with 5-30 second infusions. I kept the water near 90-95 C most of the time.
After a quick rinse, the first steep had a honey and green apple (?) aroma and tasted like a fruity sweet nectar, with a little sourness in the center of the tongue. It was only slightly dry, and had a moderate thickness. The leaves started opening up a bit after the second steep, and I was able to see the leaves were a mix of green and purple. Initially the aroma was like fresh sweet pastries again, but then had a slightly sour and spicy fruitiness. The taste became sweeter and a little more dry (but still only moderately). It again had a slight sour, fruity aftertaste, and the dry cup smelled like honey.
After the third steep, the gaiwan’s lid smelled like cornbread and brew was a very clear and bright yellow. This steep was even sweeter than the last, a little less astringent and less sour, and more viscous. The brew smelled very sweet, like a light honey. The fourth and fifth steeps were similar to this one, maybe even more sweet and honey-like. I brewed 8 times, and it was enjoyable until the end, but the flavors started dying off with the 6th steep.
Flavors: Fruity, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Pastries, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Toasty
Wow! Right off the bat, this is a great tea. The rinse smells very good, with a sort of roasty/stonefruit aroma, which also comes in the flavor of the first steep. The strongest flavors I notice are similar to slightly overripe grapes or white wine. Probably thanks to the dryness, those flavors last in the mouth long after sipping. It brews strong for many steeps and doesn’t change a lot, which is fine because it’s very good. The dry cup aroma is dominated by a honey/honeysuckle or sugarcane aroma, which also sometimes creeps into the flavor. There is a slight cooling effect in the mouth. A very good tea at a great value, so I highly recommend it.
Flavors: Floral, Grapes, Honey, Raisins, Roasted, Stonefruits, Sugarcane, White Wine
Fresh from the sample package, the dry leaves had a slight earthy/woody and very mild fruity aroma, which also came through the first few steeps. The flavor of these steeps had a slight honey sweetness, very mild fruit and floral character, and was a bit sour and astringent. The mouthfeel was clean, a little viscous, and dry after swallowing.
Middle steeps were more astringent, with mellow sourness (mostly on the sides of the tongue), light honey sweetness, moderately viscous, and had a slight cooling affect, mostly in the throat.
Later steeps had pretty mild flavors, with moderate astringency and bitterness, more dry, and left an acidic sensation on the top of the tongue.
Overall, I would describe this tea as bright. Not really sweet, but bright and dry. It was pleasant to drink, and a good tea, with a decent balance of the noted flavors. Nothing was too forward, and even the acidic and astringent characters were enjoyable. The cha qi, for me, was very relaxing and meditative. I don’t think I could drink this tea daily, because of the lasting acidic character, but I do like it.
The wet leaves were light red/brown and had some dull green left in them. Brewed gongfu style from 15-60 seconds.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Earth, Fruity, Honey, Pleasantly Sour
This is a great tea! The smokey caramel aromas after steeping fill the air and give a very comforting sensation. After a quick wash, the early steeps have a mildly smokey and roasted character with caramel flavors. There is a very mild bitterness and slight astringency that seems to coat the tongue with a floral sweetness that lingers after swallowing. Exhaling fills the senses with a floral honey. I can see why this tea is award winning. As the leaves open up, the smokiness fades and the tea starts to become similar to a Taiwanese high mountain oolong with less grassy notes and not as overwhelmingly floral. I think eco-cha’s description is spot on.
I started with a 10 second steep, then 15, 20, then up to 45 seconds.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Floral, Pecan, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Sweet
I wouldn’t say this is a complex tea, but I think it’s very good. I used about 5 g for 120 ml gaiwan, and just under boiling water. The dry leaves are very dark and crisp. Beautiful and intact. I steeped with fairly short infusions, starting with 5 seconds and ending with about 20 seconds.
The aroma mostly consists of a light cinnamon, deeper notes of caramel (especially the gaiwan lid and dry cup), and possibly toasted almonds. The flavor has a touch of caramel and maybe a sweet and slightly savory baked scone. After swallowing, the flavors can be sensed again when exhaling, and there is a nice light lingering astringency on the middle of the tongue. I think these flavors can be found in about five steepings, and it gets more astringent with more, longer infusions. I tend to get a very calming effect from this tea. The brewed leaves are a deep red/reddish-brown color.
Even though the tea is not extremely complex, the notes it does have are all good and balanced making for a satisfying daily drinker. I would consider having this tea in my stock at all times so it’s always an option.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cinnamon, Roasted nuts, Sweet