One thing I enjoy doing perhaps a bit more than I should is buying Wuyi oolongs, trying them, and then hanging on to them for an extended period of time to see how the roast settles. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget about teas and they end up in a tote or at the back of one of my tea cabinets just waiting to be cracked open and sampled. Such was the case with this tea. I bought this and the 2016 Qilan Light Roast at the same time, drank the other, and then shelved this one. I discovered it late last week, and since I had not consumed any Wuyi oolongs this month, I decided to focus my energies on it. What I found was utterly delightful. The tea was super mellow, the roast was nice and focused, and it had a wonderful, lasting complexity.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 11 seconds, 14 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 32 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes. Yeah, I decided to play around a bit with my preparation.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of char, orchid, ginger, cinnamon, and berries. After the rinse, I found a stronger orchid aroma coupled with hints of narcissus, wood, vanilla, and vegetal impressions. The first infusion brought out a little more vegetal character on the nose. In the mouth, I found notes of orchid and narcissus up front that soon gave way to smooth notes of cream, vanilla, and fruit chased by touches of char and a rather grassy, vegetal impression. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger notes of cream, char, and vanilla. I also began to find impressions of leather, cinnamon, ginger, pastry, pine, moss, grass, minerals, roasted almond, aloe, rock sugar, wet stones, and sweet, jammy fruit notes that rather reminded me of a combination of red currant, gooseberry, and black raspberry. The tea grew woodier, more vegetal, and somewhat earthy as it went, though it never quite lost its fruity, savory, floral, and nutty qualities. The later infusions emphasized notes of minerals, earth, pine wood, cream, and wet stones that were balanced by a belatedly emerging popcorn hull note as well as impressions of flowers and roasted almond.
This was a very nice tea with surprising depth, complexity, and longevity. I also dug its mellow, sneaky energy. That’s one thing I adore about Wuyi oolongs. They almost always give me a little pick-me-up, a slight boost in alertness, but they never seem to make me jittery or cause insomnia. I ended a day with a lengthy gongfu session of this tea and still slept well. That meant a lot to me. Anyway, back on track, this was a very good oolong. I can’t say much more than that.
Flavors: Almond, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Ginger, Grass, Leather, Mineral, Moss, Narcissus, Orchid, Pastries, Pine, Popcorn, Raspberry, Sugar, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wet Rocks