Wuyi yancha of the uncommon Que She (Sparrow Tongue) varietal. A first for me! This is a sweet, smooth and subtle rock oolong that Old Ways Tea calls ‘elusive’ and I have to agree. It’s different.
The dry leaf gives sweet and milky notes, caramel with darker notes of black currant and oak wood, a minty undertone. First impression from the warmed leaf is a very dark and strong mocha coffee with trails of caramel as I pull away. When I go back in for more, I notice dark brown toast and cardboard. Rinsing brings out the gentler characteristics of the tea: herbal, orange blossom, woodiness, wet vegetation, eucalyptus. I still notice coffee. It’s all so complex.
I gave it some intuitive brewing because that’s what it asked of me after the first short steep.
The flavor and aroma components are very active but the tea is overall very soothing. It’s at first a little alkaline I think from the roast, then opens up into a milky-woody-floral profile, a little caramel. It’s soft and somehow the deep and dark Wuyi minerality does not overplay. Balance. It travels in a minty cool stream down my throat and lingers there but not in my mouth.
With the next few cups, I notice the rich and sweet aroma that carries the same floral, milky character. The brew has more of a sunflower seed nuttiness to it. It’s interesting to breath the tea out of my nose – it seems to stick to every receptor and every hair. Aftertaste develops into a kind of incense, more sweet herbal than woody. My sinuses open completely. I notice cannabis. A few cups later and my throat is very warm, my body feels like a furnace yet my neck feels like ice in the sun. Hints of unripe apricot in the aftertaste.
I did many short steeps in the beginning and it was just this amazing tea. Once I started getting into late steepings, it became rather citrus-acidic and bitter. Drank the rinse this morning, cold. Despite sitting all night, it was fantastic, rich and sweet. No char or lingering roast notes at all.
It has this medium-oxidized/medium-roasted character but then it also seems like low-roasted. I would need several more sessions of this tea to figure out its nuances and understand its nature better. The subtleties of the tea don’t require your attention to appreciate it, though. It’s clearly a high quality tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Black Currant, Brown Toast, Cannabis, Caramel, Chocolate, Coffee, Creamy, Eucalyptus, Floral, Herbs, Menthol, Milk, Mineral, Mint, Nutty, Oak, Orange Blossom, Plants, Smooth, Spring Water, Sweet, Wood