This was another sipdown from August. It was also the first of the Yunnan Sourcing tea and flower dragon balls I tried. It set the bar pretty high for those that followed, although I can now safely say that it was not my favorite of the bunch.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped the entire 8-9 gram dragon ball in 160 ml of 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 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, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes, with the final infusion steeped in 205 F water.
Prior to the rinse, the dry dragon ball produced aromas of chrysanthemum, dill, hay, malt, and sugarcane. After the rinse, new aromas of wheat toast, cream, butter, vanilla, and grass appeared. The first infusion introduced aromas of orange zest and straw as well as a subtle eucalyptus scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of chrysanthemum, hay, dill, cream, butter, malt, and wheat toast that were backed by hints of straw, vanilla, orange zest, grass, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of autumn leaves, oats, lemon zest, and anise as well as a subtle pine scent. Stronger and more immediately noteworthy impressions of orange zest, sugarcane, straw, grass, and vanilla appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of anise, oats, lemon zest, minerals, and autumn leaves and hints of black pepper, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and pine. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, wheat toast, chrysanthemum, orange zest, malt, cream, hay, and butter that were complimented by a late, sugary honeydew note and hints of dill, vanilla, grass, straw, autumn leaves, pine, sugarcane, lemon zest, and anise.
This was a very interesting tea. Though the characteristics imparted by the chrysanthemum buds did frequently overpower the base tea, there was still just enough strength from the base to keep things from coming unglued. The chrysanthemum buds and the moonlight white tea actually played off of one another quite well, as the tea neutralized some of the more vegetal impressions of the chrysanthemum buds, while the chrysanthemum buds softened and smoothed out some of the grainier, more savory notes of the white tea and injected some gently invigorating spiciness into the mix. Though I would have liked to see a little more balance, especially in the early infusions, this was still a successful blend of more or less complimentary components. Fans of both white teas and floral infusions would probably be satisfied with it.
Flavors: Anise, Anise, Autumn Leaf Pile, Autumn Leaf Pile, Black Pepper, Black Pepper, Butter, Butter, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Cream, Dill, Dill, Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus, Floral, Floral, Grass, Grass, Hay, Hay, Honeydew, Honeydew, Lemon Zest, Lemon Zest, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Oats, Oats, Orange Zest, Orange Zest, Pine, Pine, Straw, Straw, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Toast, Toast, Vanilla, Vanilla, Wheat, Wheat