After being previously introduced to Da Hong Pao thanks to JK Tea Shop’s sample, I made it a point to get a new Yixing pot (as per JK’s suggestion) before trying the next sample since I’m assuming it’s a higher grade of Da Hong Pao, as its listed price is almost double the one I tried previously. Suffice to say, this tea was absolutely worth the wait!
After seasoning my Yixing pot last night, I was ready to give this tea a shot. The dry leaves have a strong sweet smell, that comes out even more after washing the leaves.
I steeped the first cup for 15 seconds, and the tea came out looking clear, golden-brown. The scent was smoky-sweet, and the first taste note I got from the tea was a light sweetness followed by smoky toasted notes in the middle. But the kicker for me is the wonderful, lingering sweet after taste that I can only describe as “honey-dipped pear”! :D
I steeped the second cup for about 25 seconds, and there was more of a smoky/toasted flavor to it, so I could taste less of the sweetness from the tea itself. Although after I left the tea to cool for a bit, I could taste more fruity sweetness from the tea, and even more of that lingering after taste with each sip.
Interestingly, the leaves seemed to have a slightly grassy scent after the second steep. I gave it about 35 seconds for the third steep, but strangely the smoky/toasted flavor and aroma was all but gone for this cup, making the sweet flavor more noticeable but still lighter than previous steeps. Each sip still brought back that caramel, honey-dipped after taste.
For my fourth and fifth steep, I gave it about 50 seconds and 1 minute respectively. The flavor and aroma from the tea was lighter with each successive cup, but it still had that great after taste!
I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this tea as much as I did was because I had each of the steeps successively with only a few minutes in between each cup, while not eating or drinking anything else in between. I think this helped maintain that after taste, which pretty much lingered in my mouth the whole time.
All in all, I have to say this is bar none, my favorite Wulong tea so far, and I am now fully converted to Da Hong Pao wulongs :D
P.S. – Given how sweet this tea is, I think it’s not exactly suitable for dessert. My guess is this food would go better with spicier dishes. I strangely want to try pairing this tea with some Xinjiang food (northwest China; Muslim region). Particularly lamb skewers spiced with cumin and chili! (Yang Rou Chuan – 羊肉串) :P~
P.P.S – Thanks JK for the tip on using a Yixing pot! ;)