The number of Tieguanyin variants released by Verdant Tea always overwhelms me. This is at least the eighth I have tried this year and I know I have at least five others tucked away in one of my tea cabinets. This specific version is the spring 2016 Tieguanyin finished with a traditional roast. Compared to the fall version, I found this one to be lighter, more vegetal, and a little less woody.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this initial infusion up with 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 14 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I noted that the dry tea leaves gave off mild woody, spicy aromas. There were also touches of flowers and grain. After the rinse, I noted more distinct aromas of wood, cream, grain, lychee, violet, gardenia, lilac, and honeysuckle. The first infusion produced a similar, albeit slightly more floral aroma with a touch of jasmine. In the mouth, the floral notes were thin, but fairly distinct. I also noted touches of wood, cinnamon, honey, lychee, cream, barley, grass, and some kind of vegetable. Verdant’s tasting note described it as jicama, but I did not quite agree with that. Subsequent infusions saw the perfumey floral aromas and flavors swell. The fruit and honey presences were somewhat more amplified. I noted the emergence of white grape and aloe at this point. Later infusions were mild and smooth, featuring very little of the mineral presence I get from many oolongs. There was still a touch of fresh flowers and fruit on the nose and in the mouth, though the tea turned decidedly grassier and more vegetal at this point. When I focused, I could still just barely detect traces of barley, white grape, lychee, and cream.
This was a nice, though very mild and subtle Tieguanyin. It was not quite as flavorful as the Traditional Tieguanyin Verdant offered last fall, but there was still nice depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth. While I was not wowed by the green Spring Tieguanyin, feeling that the floral presence was overwhelming and the body was too light, this was a surprisingly delightful upgrade. I would recommend this tea highly to anyone looking for a respectable traditional take on this cultivar.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lychee, Mineral, Roasted Barley, Violet, White Grapes, Wood