This was another of last week’s sipdowns. This was also a tea I had no clue whether or not I’d like. For the most part, I am not a fan of flavored/scented oolongs, but I do love Taiwanese Si Ji Chun oolongs, and I am also a huge fan of Earl Grey. Still, I had no clue what to expect from this tea. I assumed it would either be really good or really bad. Luckily for me, I found it to be a more or less very good offering. It wasn’t perfect; however, it was very enjoyable.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of dry tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, vanilla, custard, honeysuckle, lemon zest, and bergamot. After the rinse, I detected a stronger bergamot aroma as well as scents of butter and slight scents of orchid. The first infusion brought out aromas of grass and baked bread as well as slight scents of violet and jasmine. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of lemon zest, grass, bergamot, violet, cream, vanilla, and honeysuckle that were chased by hints of baked bread, butter, and spinach. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of lime and spinach. There were also some hints of umami on the nose. Stronger and more immediate notes of baked bread, butter, and spinach appeared in the mouth alongside notes of orchid and custard as well as hints of jasmine. Mineral, umami, lime, pear, honey, and green apple notes emerged, and I also picked up hints of seaweed. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering mineral, cream, bergamot, butter, lime, lemon zest and grass notes that were balanced by umami, spinach, seaweed, custard, honey, vanilla, pear, and baked bread hints.
Ultimately, this tea did not end up being anything too crazy, and for that, I was very grateful. The bergamot actually worked with the oolong, emphasizing the citrus and flower aromas and flavors one would expect to find in a green Si Ji Chun while also adding some sharpness and some complimentary notes that one would otherwise not expect to find. Though I thought the bergamot oil could have been dialed back just a bit, this was a still a very good, very enjoyable tea, one that Earl Grey fans and haters alike could probably get behind.
Flavors: Bergamot, Bread, Butter, Cream, Custard, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lemon Zest, Lime, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami, Vanilla, Violet