Got this one last year as I waited impatiently for the What-Cha one. I saw Tea and Whisk advertise themselves on Gong Fu Cha on Facebook, and I wanted to give them a try.
They have a pretty good selection of Taiwanese and Chinese teas; I was actually impressed with their picks for Yancha and Wuyi Black Tea, specifically the Jioatang Lapsang Souchong Black Tea. I decided against it because I have an embarrassing excessive amount of Lapsang I need to drink, but this oolong sounded like it hit all the marks I was looking for. Past Taiwanese Tie Guan Yins have been really good, and this one seemed like a steal for $16 for 2 oz. It’s 40% oxidized, and the company suggests it’s fruitier than the usual tie guan yin, and the oxidation would add more complexity. Some of my favorite oolongs are in the 30-35% oxidised range, so I thought this tea might be perfect.
Looking at it, the tea is a healthy green with darker earthier shades amidst some yellow and lighter green. Brewing it up, it took some coaxing to open, and actually turned about to be a little trickier to manipulate. I went back and forth westerning and gong fuing it and was having a hard time finding the right balance. The dryleaf aroma is very sweet and fresh, but the wet tea itself is actually subtle and not super flavor forward in either brewing method.Over leafing it at 6 grams made it flat, under leafing it at 3 grams made it too thin. When I got it right by giving it a longer and hotter rinse, it has a really nice mouthfeel, yet the flavors are hinted at. Orchid and spinach are the main flavors I get from the tea in every steep western or gong fu, and I really don’t get the mango or fructose honey sweetness touched on until steep three and four. More like lemongrass in some ways, but very faint because it disappears under the orchid and vegetal body. There some nuttiness, but not a lot.
I’m still not sure on what to think on this one. The company say’s it’s one of their most complex, and while I admit there is more dimension to this tea compared to most flower or roasted char bombs that are Tie Guan Yin, yet the subtlety is bugging me because I know this tea can offer more flavor. It does have a little bit of TGY tartness and some orchid, but the fruity mango note replaces the usually apricot note of this type of tea that somehow makes it more subdued. If I were to taste this blind, I’d guess it’s a Tsu Yu or a Meishan Jin Xuan because of how the florals combine with the texture and subtle fruit and more prominent vegetal elements.
I’m being a brat with this one. I expected more fruit notes, but this tea was more vegetal than I expected. I’m holding off on rating it because I still think I need to figure it out. I’m open to suggestions.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Green Beans, Lemongrass, Mango, Orchid, Spinach, Vegetal