One of several reviews I have needed to post for a while, I finished off a 10 gram sample of this tea somewhere between one and two weeks ago. I don’t know why I never got around to posting a review here on Steepster in the meantime. It is perhaps most likely that I simply prioritized other reviews and this got placed on the back burner until now. I know that this was a tea I had built up in my head, perhaps to an unreasonable degree. Prior to acquiring and trying it, I had seen a number of incredibly positive reviews for it in several places, Steepster chief among them. How did it hold up for me? I found it to be an excellent tea, though I was a bit taken aback at first. As others have implied or outright stated, this is a white tea that does not have all that much in common with other white teas.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted a powerful mix of plum, apricot, autumn leaf pile, hay, honey, and cucumber aromas. After the rinse, I began to note emerging scents of roasted almond, cream, malt, honey, and molasses. The first infusion then brought out hints of caramel and eucalyptus on the nose. I found notes of cream, malt, hay, and autumn leaf pile immediately in the mouth. They were quickly balanced by notes of molasses, caramel, roasted almond, apricot, and plum that were chased by something of a cooling eucalyptus note on the finish. There was also a surprise hint of cocoa at that point that quite literally came out of nowhere. Subsequent infusions brought out new notes of orange, lemon, vanilla, fig, wood, marzipan, and minerals. The eucalyptus presence grew stronger in the mouth. I also began to note a subtle, belatedly emerging cucumber flavor and interesting notes of fennel and basil that joined with the eucalyptus on the finish. The later infusions had more to offer than anticipated. I found lingering impressions of minerals, caramel, wood, malt, and roasted almond balanced by cooling touches of fennel and eucalyptus and vague hints of citrus and autumn leaves.
An incredibly interesting, complex tea, I can see why so many people adore it. While I enjoyed it tremendously as well, I do have to opine (more nitpick) that it was almost too much at times-I was a little overwhelmed in several places. In a lot of ways, it was almost as if the producer had somehow taken a traditional white tea and an extremely mellow hong cha and smashed them together, somehow coming out with an almost perfect blend of the two. This was most certainly not a white tea in the vein of the classic Chinese white teas I have tried, and as such, I could easily see it being used to rope in those who tend to avoid white teas. If you try one white tea this year, make it this one.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Cucumber, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Fig, Hay, Herbs, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Marzipan, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Plum, Wood