This tea I had tried awhile ago but forgot to post the review for it, so this is the second time I have ordered it and reviewed it. I have to say I was in love with it immediately. I will confess this is the only liu bao tea I have tried so I have no basis for comparison. However, I find this tea incredibly interesting and both robust and delicate. For me it conjures the image of willy wonka, if he had a tea (instead of an everlasting gobstopper) that turned from chicken soup and then into a flower. Odd image and not very professional ‘tea tester language’ I suppose but that’s what I keep getting with this tea on separate occasions of review.
Gongfu’d (but have steeped it western style before and noticed no real difference)
First steep (no wash). 30ish seconds 195 F lilac body with orchid notes immediately hit palate and it smooths out and leaves a slight floral , mostly lilac, flavor lingering. The brewed leaves and tea soup smell interesting, like creamy chicken noodle soup. Very savory and wonderful; there is the surprising twist of the tea being floral and sweet. A nice copper tea soup color.
2nd steep, 200F 30 seconds: the lilac is out in full front, the orchid is still there as well. Conjuring past memories of fresh ‘hawaiian orchid lei’ . The tea has developed some bitter notes, but doesn’t detract and is still very pleasant (and this from someone who normally hates bitter tastes). It pairs well and brings out the lilac flavors. (Anyone who has tasted or smelt lilacs knows that there is that slight pugnent bitterness to it, and that’s what I am getting here).
3rd steep, 195 30 seconds: Smooths out a little bit, flavors less pronounced but I wanted to bring the bitter down a little bit afraid that it will develop in a negative way. The orchid comes out a little more here. Still drinkable and floral but the flavors are dying down a little bit. Orchid notes lingering on the tongue. I would probably stay at 195 F in the future, but 200 works as well.
4th steep, 205 50 seconds: Experimenting at a higher temperature. Tea still drinkable and floral with orchid lingering on tongue with slight pleasant bitter notes. This is probably where I will drop off but it might be good for another 2 or 3 rounds I am just avoiding more caffeine intake at this late of an hour.
This tea is not very long-lasting; however, for myself, the ‘thick creamy chicken soup’ smell of the brewed leaves contrasting against the delicate and floral tea itself is kind of a novelty which I happen to enjoy. I find the price to be extremely en pointe (16.50/250 grams). I had planned on ordering more of this but ended up ordering other samples instead. Will probably order a larger batch in the future.
Flavors: Chicken Soup, Floral, Orchid, Pleasantly Sour