Hey, I finally found some time and motivation to get some new tea reviews posted. Of course, it also helps that I have now been able to log in to my account for two straight days. As with everything else I seem to post these days, new is relative. I have such a huge backlog of tea reviews now that I have stopped counting and dating them. This one I think comes from either March or April, but I cannot be certain. Those of you who read my reviews probably know that I am a huge fan of unsmoked lapsang souchong. Since the only other unsmoked lapsang that I had tried from What-Cha was great, I had really high expectation of this tea. Unfortunately, it proved to be something of a let down. It was not exactly bad though. To be fair, it really just struck me as being mediocre.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, pine, honey, sweet potato, cinnamon, malt, and chocolate. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of smoke, brown sugar, and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced a hint of straw to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, pine, cinnamon, malt, sweet potato, chocolate, and brown sugar that were balanced by touches of lemon zest, smoke, grass, straw, red grape, honey, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions introduced scents of mineral water, red grape, earth, fig, orange zest, and plum. Stronger and more immediate notes of red grape and grass appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, earth, cream, plum, red apple, fig, orange zest, and pear. I also detected hints of cooked green beans, and black cherry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering mineral, earth, baked bread, malt, lemon zest, orange zest, and brown sugar notes that were balanced by hints of red grape, pear, grass, chocolate, pine, sweet potato, and roasted peanut.
This tea had a lot to offer in terms of aroma and flavor, and it did have a surprising amount of longevity in the mouth for what I’m guessing was not as high grade of an offering compared to some of What-Cha’s earlier offerings of this type. Unfortunately, the texture and body of the tea liquor were nothing to write home about. Furthermore, the qualities this tea offered were nothing new for this style and have been much better highlighted in other offerings I have tried. In the end, this tea struck me as being a mixed bag. It was not terrible, but there are better offerings of this type out there.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Earth, Fig, Grapes, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Straw, Sweet Potatoes