Received a sample of this tea courtesy of teasipper. It’s my first time trying Ben Shan which is supposed to be closely related to Tieguanyin and is sometimes sold to unsuspecting buyers as TGY. So going into this tasting, my perception was Ben Shan probably tastes a lot like TGY albeit a lower grade version.
The dry leaf indeed had the familiar floral aroma of TGY but additionally, I smelled some eucalyptus and vanilla. The first steep was like a weak TGY. Light orchid flavor. The color wasn’t nuclear green though. It had a slight amber hue to it. The next steep was fuller with TGY like orchid balanced with a nice vegetal backdrop. In the 3rd steep, the florals become brighter, more orchid than lilac. Some vanilla peeks through as well and a little fruitiness can be detected in the background. This was a very well balanced infusion that tasted like an earlier steeping of TGY. The flavor of the tea changes little in later steeps. It just gets thinner as the steeps wear on.
This was a good tea in my book but there’s nothing unique about it. It doesn’t separate itself from other TGYs in any meaningful way. For all practical purposes, it can be considered to be TGY-lite.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Flowers, Orchid, Vanilla