Purchased at the SF Tea Fest. This organic gaoshan was offered as a replacement for the Spring 2018 harvest that had already sold out by the time we rolled around on Sunday afternoon. Tillerman Tea was probably my favorite booth at the fest. He and his partner were full of answers when I unloaded with questions, they presented not one gimmicky claim and I felt like there was no pressure to buy. I appreciated that given the overwhelming nature of the event. Most importantly, they let the tea speak for itself.
Gone gaiwan: 6g, 150mL, 212F, rinse (drank) plus 13 steeps starting at 10s.
The dry leaf is very fragrant with a range of florals including lilac, daffodil, hyacinth, gardenia and lily. It is also typically vegetal with some cream and butter. Warming brings out a hit of vanilla and fresh sugarcane. The rinse opens up the vegetal aroma into scents of spinach, pine, watercress and white pepper.
The first steep is thick, smooth, oily and round with no bitterness nor astringency despite using boiling water. The leaves open almost completely after the first steep. Daffodil and pine and very light vegetal and sweet lemon notes lead the way. These transition into stronger floral notes with additions of osmanthus and faint macadamia and dried coconut. Puff pastry presents as a long, coating aftertaste. I get a faint whiff of popcorn in the aroma and something spicy in the mouth, a tinge of cassia. Very relaxed and sweating.
With the fifth steep, the liquor lightens into fresh vegetal-herbaceous flavors including sugar snap peas, raw corn, fresh herbs, squash blossom and flower stems. A faint astringency becomes noticeable, along with some cooling menthol that coats the back of the tongue and light minerals which make my tongue tingle. I notice a pleasant bite in the throat and the sugarcane returning sweetness. Butter comes through moderately in the aftertaste.
With the eighth steep, the florals finally begin their fade and give way to a thinner brew highlighted by cream, light sweet vanilla, cooked yellow corn, minerals and some lemon still noticeable around the salivary glands.
This seemed like a standout tea even almost 2 years past harvest. While predominantly a heady floral tea, the non-spinachy vegetal base provided a nice balance and the liquor was well rounded by sweet, buttery, pine/herbal, and citrusy qualities along with that slight spicy bite. I would definitely recommend this tea to somebody looking for a high-quality, organic gaoshan.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Coconut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Herbs, Lemon, Menthol, Nuts, Osmanthus, Pastries, Pepper, Pine, Plants, Popcorn, Round , Smooth, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal