Thanks, Derk, for all the generous Japanese tea samples! This is also my first Japanese oolong, and I was drawn to the ones featured on the Thés du Japon site because they were described as resembling Taiwanese gaoshan, even down to the cultivars used. I had no idea how to steep this, not having a 60 ml vessel, so I filled my 85 ml teapot most of the way and hoped it was okay. TDJ also only gives directions for the first steep. I used my 3 g of leaf in boiling water and steeped it for 30, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of apricot, tart fruit (I haven’t had quince, but that seems accurate), grain, lemon, lilies and other flowers, and sugarcane. The lily, honeysuckle, orchid, and maybe even lilac florals do remind me of a Baozhong, as does the grass, butter, and silky texture. There’s definitely an element of grain that I haven’t found in Baozhong, and the tart quince/apricot/peach comes in on the aftertaste. (That peachy aftertaste might be the best part of this steep!) Spice is quite prominent in steep two, along with flowers, grass, minerals, grain, sap, and tart fruit. I see how Derk is getting mango in steep three, though there’s also some astringency, grass, spinach, lily, apricot, lemon, and minerals. The tea is starting to get a bit rough around the edges. Coconut appears in the fourth steep, though the spinach and grass are getting stronger and the fruit/florals are backing off. There’s still some creamy mango sweetness as it cools. The coconut, mango, and apricot continue in the next few steeps, but this oolong is getting very grassy, vegetal, and bitter.
This oolong evolved throughout my gongfu session and was a bit temperamental, though that could have been due to user error. While it did have some similarities to Baozhong, it took a wildly different direction in later steeps. (Also, keep those coconut teas coming!) Thanks to Derk for letting me try this tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Lilac, Lily, Mango, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Quince, Sap, Silky, Spices, Spinach, Sugarcane, Tart, Vegetal