Time to get back on here and get a few more reviews posted. My free time has been virtually nonexistent the last several days, so I have not been able to get anything posted on Steepster. I don’t want to fall behind again after making such great progress over the last month or so, thus I am staying up tonight to bring everyone some new reviews. You’re welcome.
This was one of my sipdowns from late 2020/early 2021. I think it was from my second attempt at reducing the number of samples from Old Ways Tea that I had lying around the house. I’m generally a huge fan of Qi Lan and tend to think that Old Ways Tea handles the cultivar quite well. This one was another winner.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of charcoal, smoke, cinnamon, dried cherry, and black raspberry. After the rinse, aromas of orchid, ash, cannabis, and blackberry emerged. The first infusion introduced aromas of baked bread, roasted peanut, and toasted rice. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of charcoal, cinnamon, smoke, black raspberry, toasted rice, roasted peanut, orchid, and blackberry that were balanced by hints of coffee, cannabis, dark chocolate, cream, grass, ash, blueberry, plum, and dried cherry. The bulk of the subsequent infusions added aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, plum, blueberry, orange zest, and roasted almond in addition to subtle aromas of popcorn and cooked spinach. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of coffee, cream, dark chocolate, plum, dried cherry, and blackberry emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, baked bread, roasted almond, apricot, peach, rock sugar, orange zest, caramel, Asian pear, pomegranate, and nutmeg. I also detected hints of butter, popcorn, red apple, and spinach. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, roasted almond, cream, baked bread, toasted rice, orange zest, caramel, rock sugar, and dried cherry that were chased by subtler impressions of black raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, grass, orchid, charcoal, roasted peanut, pomegranate, butter, and popcorn.
This was a very complex tea. It was not the most focused tea of this type that I have tried, but its hyperactive, constantly shifting flavor profile was tremendously appealing. Qi Lan can often be balanced, restrained, and subtle, frequently emphasizing aroma over flavor and texture, but this was a very flavorful, exuberant tea that was consistently engaging. While there were times it could have reined everything in a bit, this tea was an absolute joy to drink and pick apart.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Ash, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Cannabis, Caramel, Charcoal, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coffee, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Pomegranate, Popcorn, Raspberry, Red Apple, Smoke, Spinach, Sugar, Toasted Rice