Tomorrow I have to leave for what will likely be a horrible work retreat, thus I will probably not be drinking and reviewing much tea for the next two or three days. I have an aged Tieguanyin I want to squeeze in tomorrow before I go, but I’m not certain I’ll get to it. I had a sample of this tea and drank it a little earlier, so I figured I may as well post a review while I was still up.
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 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of butter, brown sugar, and vanilla frosting. After the rinse, aromas of grain, cream, butterscotch, and caramelized banana began to appear. The first infusion brought out hints of graham cracker and flowers on the nose. In the mouth, I detected notes of butter, cream, vanilla frosting, brown sugar, graham cracker, and caramelized banana. There was something of a grainy character there too, as well as something of a vegetal note that I could not place no matter how hard I tried. I failed to note any floral character at this point. Subsequent infusions brought out touches of toasted rice, violet, orchid, minerals, watercress, and bamboo shoots. There was also a very light, fleeting impression of coffee at a couple of points. Later infusions were mostly grainy, savory, and mildly vegetal under dominant mineral notes, though I could detect touches of sweetness at times. I noticed that this tea’s aromas and flavors washed out rather quickly, but I also must point out that this tea was very lively in the mouth and offered a unique cooling effect after the swallow. I cannot accurately describe it, but after the third infusion, I noticed that when I drew my breath in I experienced a menthol-like soothing effect that seemed to cool my mouth and throat. That shocked me too because I could detect no such herbal, minty notes in the tea itself.
This was an interesting tea. Its lively, playful nature and unique cooling property combined with a nice body and a consistently appealing texture to somewhat mitigate its lack of longevity. I enjoyed it a great deal, but I also cannot see myself reaching for it with regularity. As roasted oolongs go, however, I found it to be a success.
Flavors: Bamboo, banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butterscotch, Coffee, Cream, Frosting, Graham, Mineral, Orchid, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet