I think this was my only other sipdown of anything larger than a 10 gram sample pouch this week. I recall finishing what I had of this tea right at the start of the week and before my schedule got crazy. I’m very nitpicky about Mi Lan Xiang, and while I enjoyed this one, it was hit or miss for me. I did two gongfu sessions with it. One was very good and very enjoyable. The other was enjoyable but kind of boring. The same goes for my two attempts at brewing it Western style. Overall, this tea was surprisingly temperamental, but when it was good, it was just slightly shy of greatness.
[Note that the preparation detailed below refers to the better of the two gongfu sessions.]
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orchid, orange blossom, honey, peach, cream, pomegranate, and vanilla. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, pear, and candied orange as well as a grassy hint and even stronger honey and flower aromas. The first infusion did not bring out any new aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of orchid, orange blossom, candied orange, pear, honey, peach, and pomegranate that quickly faded to reveal impressions of roasted almond, grass, cream, and vanilla. Notes of pear, honey, peach, orange blossom, and orchid lingered in the mouth after each swallow. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of violet, cherry, apple, baked bread, butter, and sugarcane. New notes of baked bread, butter, minerals, cherry, sugarcane, violet, apricot, nectarine, apple, spinach, and watercress appeared in the mouth. As the tea faded, the liquor offered subtle notes of minerals, baked bread, apple, pear, grass, and roasted almond that were accompanied by almost ghostly wisps of honey, candied orange, sugarcane, orchid, cream, and vanilla.
Though my experience with it suggested that this was kind of an inconsistent, finnicky tea, it was never less than solid, and as the above description of the more successful of my two gongfu sessions indicated, it was very, very good when it was firing on all cylinders. Again, even at its worst, this tea was never really less than a solid offering. Sadly, I did not take any notes during my two Western sessions, but I do recall that they mirrored the two gongfu sessions. At its best, I would rate this tea somewhere between 87 and 90, but I have decided to knock a couple points off my overall numerical rating due to the tea’s inconsistency.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet