This was my next-to-last sipdown in August. Once I get this review posted, I will be completely done with my August reviews. This tea ended up being a bit surprising for me because I enjoyed it greatly. I am normally pretty ambivalent toward Huang Guan Yin, but this one was excellent.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 208 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted peanut and smoke. The first infusion introduced earthy and mushroom-like scents to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted peanut and tart blackberry accompanied by hints of cream, mushroom, raspberry, and blueberry. The finish was mostly earthy with a dominant mushroom note, though I also found some impressions of wood and smoke in the aftertaste. The following infusions introduced stronger berry aromas and new wood, black cherry, pomegranate, and citrus scents. New impressions of roasted walnut, beechnut, pomegranate, black cherry, raisin, minerals, dark chocolate, and orange zest appeared in the mouth alongside subtle malt notes and stronger impressions of cream, mushroom, blackberry, and raspberry. Oddly enough, I thought I also detected a hint of camphor in the aftertaste on several of these infusions. The final few infusions offered mineral, roasted peanut, cream, and wood notes that were underscored by hints of malt and orange zest.
Unlike the few Wuyi Huang Guan Yins I had tried prior to this tea, the aromas and flavors on display here did not clash too much, and this tea retained a great deal of complexity fairly deep into the session. I noted, however, that when it was done, it was simply done. Once I hit the seven minute mark there was not much left to savor. That is not much of a knock, though, considering that this tea was fantastic prior to that point. If it is still available, I highly recommend giving this tea a shot. It may change your mind about Huang Guan Yin if you are not much of a fan.
Flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nutty, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Smoke, Walnut, Wood