New Year’s Eve ended up being all about comforting teas in my household. This was the tea with which I rang in the New Year. I stayed up (didn’t end up watching the ball drop) and started a gongfu session somewhere around 10:00 PM, finishing up a little after midnight. The fact that I took my time with the session allowed this to technically be the first tea consumed by me in 2018, and honestly, there were far, far worse things I could have consumed to ring in the year. This ended up being a great baozhong and further proof that the fancy competition grade teas do not always provide the best and most satisfying drinking experiences.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected surprisingly strong aromas of lilac, violet, sweet pea, cream, and butter. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of pastry, vanilla, custard, gardenia, and magnolia. The first infusion brought out a hint of sugarcane on the nose. On the palate, I found pleasant notes of butter, cream, vanilla, pastry, and sugarcane that were thicker than expected. These notes were balanced by hints of lilac, violet, sweet pea, melon, and orchard fruits. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger floral notes on the palate, and on these infusions, the magnolia and gardenia appeared. I also started noting fully formed notes of cantaloupe, honeydew, pear, and green apple. New impressions of sweetgrass, mango, lime, tangerine, minerals, and lettuce emerged, though I could also find faint underpinnings of peas, spinach, and custard, which had surprisingly both disappeared from the nose and never bother to turn up in the mouth until this point. The later infusions offered lingering impressions of butter, cream, green apple, pear, sugarcane, and minerals balanced by lingering floral and citrusy hints.
A surprisingly heavy, complex, long-lived baozhong, this tea clearly had not lost a step in storage. This seems to have been out of stock for quite some time at this point, but if I could acquire more of it, I most certainly would. I really found it to be that good, and to be honest, I’m much pickier than most people would ever imagine with baozhong.
Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honeydew, Lettuce, Lime, Mineral, Pastries, Pear, Peas, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet