When Derk said this tea might be losing its edge, I thought I’d better start sipping down my remaining 45 g. It’s from the spring 2020 harvest. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of lemon, orchid, lily, lilac, and a vegetal note I read as spinach. The first steep is very floral, with orchids, lilies, and lilacs, plus grass, lettuce, artichoke, and lemon. The pronounced peach/apricot aftertaste is definitely the best part of the sip. In steep two, the lemon combined with the sweetness indeed reminds me of lemon curd. The stonefruit also shows up in the aroma and taste, not just the aftertaste, which makes the lettuce/artichoke note more palatable. I also get some herbaceous notes. In the third steep, I get more generic citrus, baked bread, pleasant sourness, and extra veggies. That stonefruit aftertaste is still impressive.
By steep five, the veggies are winning the fight for supremacy with the stonefruit. The lily florals are still present but are subsiding and I’m getting some metallic notes. The best part of this tea is still the aftertaste. The tea gets increasingly vegetal and astringent in the next few rounds, although the stonefruit aftertaste continues until the tenth steep or so. The end of the session is dominated by veggies, astringency, minerals, and grass, with wisps of stonefruit hanging on for dear life.
While this is by no means the best Tie Guan Yin I’ve had (that honour goes to YS’s Competition TGY), I think this is a middle-of-the-road example of this tea. I kind of expect some astringency in Tie Guan Yin, and the stonefruit makes up for many of its flaws. I won’t have any trouble finishing the rest of this package, although I may not buy more.
Flavors: Apricot, Artichoke, Astringent, Bread, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lettuce, Metallic, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Spinach, Tangy, Vegetal