This will be my final review of the day unless plans change. I’m dipping into my vast backlog again with this one. The first of the 2018 and 2019 Old Ways Tea samples I polished off during my sample drinking spree that started in late 2020, this one definitely comes from last year. I knew this was basically intended to be treated as a value offering by the folks at Old Ways Tea, but I was surprised to discover that it was actually a very good, solid Wuyi black tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased 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 orchid, nectarine, blood orange, tangerine, cinnamon, and pine. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut that were accompanied by subtler scents of smoke and nutmeg. The first infusion then added a cherry aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, cherry, tangerine, blood orange, roasted almond, grass, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of cinnamon, pear, nectarine, and pomegranate. The majority of the subsequent infusions added grass, mineral, red grape, hay, violet, and a stronger nutmeg scent to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of pear, pomegranate, and nectarine emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, cream, malt, orange zest, baked bread, peach, plum, red grape, nutmeg, and violet. I also detected hints of smoke, hay, and pine here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, roasted almond, malt, orange zest, tangerine, and cherry that were chased by lingering hints of red grape, plum, baked bread, orchid, blood orange, pomegranate, roasted peanut, and violet.
This tea displayed a wonderful mix of aromas and flavors, but it was not as refined or as balanced as it could have been. It had everything that would have made it an absolute knockout of an offering otherwise. As is, it was not even remotely close to being a bad offering, but I felt that it could have been much better than it was and represented something of a missed opportunity overall.
Flavors: Almond, Blood Orange, Bread, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Grapes, Grass, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Nectarine, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Pomegranate, Smoke, Tangerine, Violet