39 Tasting Notes
The first couple steps are light and sweet with wildflower honey, black tea, dried apricot, and citrus notes dominating the golden brew, with a sweet earthiness in the background. It quickly becomes bittersweet and turns orange. I normally would have reduced the steeping time, but the bittersweet steeps have a deep, aromatic, resinous wood thing that I love, and it disappears in lighter steeps. The bitterness is quite tolerable anyway. The next few steeps move toward a more generic but still pleasant mushroomy earthiness, and that’s where this session ends because I’ve had a lot of puerh today and I can feel it.
Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Earth, Flowers, Honey, Mushrooms, Resin, Wood
Today ended up being an oolong roast day. I tasted a Si Ji Chun I roasted in September after hating its vegetalness unroasted. The roast brought out some woodiness and spice reminiscent of a yancha, weirdly enough. Four or five steeps in, it had a strong brown sugar sweetness. I decided to roast it some more and see where it goes.
I also roasted an Alishan Jin Xuan that was a victim of poor storage at a cafe for a few years. I got several ounces of it ridiculously cheap because of that. Initially I tried a short refresh roast, and while it smelled great–honey, flowers, apricot–all that disappeared when I poured water on it, and the taste just wasn’t there, hardly any better than before reroasting. I roasted it a little further and I’ll check on it in a couple months.
The roast isn’t very heavy and doesn’t overpower the lighter floral notes while also bringing out some nuttiness and hints of spice. It finishes strongly citric, but not sour. Overall, it’s medium bodied with mild astringency and not very complex, but enjoyable.
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Floral, Nutty, Spicy
This is wonderfully aromatic with a good amount of complexity. It’s primarily fruity, lots of florals too. The mouthfeel is almost oily, as usual for Dancong. It tastes best to me with slightly less tea than you’d expect to need flash steeped with boiling water, although it can take longer steeps just fine if that’s what you prefer; this seems to be pretty low on bitterness for a Dancong no matter how it’s brewed.
Flavors: Apricot, Fig, Floral, Pineapple, Raspberry, Tropical
I initially used a stronger ratio and flash steeps, and it gave the impression of a generic young sheng: vegetal, astringent, fairly bitter. Removing some leaves and steeping longer revealed more of the tea’s character. It’s mellow and slightly fruity, with hints of apricot and berries. Lots of caramel as well. There’s a bit of vegetal bitterness to balance all that sweetness, and some intermittent spiciness that I love. The mouthfeel is quite thick for the age; it’s almost like a syrup. The best part is probably the desert-like finish. I need a cake of this to see how it ages.
Flavors: Apricot, Berries, Caramel, Peppercorn, Toffee, Vanilla, Vegetal
I liked this more than I expected based on my experience with Adagio’s oolongs. The roast is on the lighter side for a Wuyi, so it’s a little more floral and fruity than I’m used to Wuyi oolongs being. There’s also a sweet cinnamon note and some dark chocolate. I enjoyed this sample, but I wouldn’t buy it because there’s a lot of high quality Wuyi oolong out there for a similar price.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Fruity, Roasted
The leaves have a baked, nutty and woody smell that comes through into the brewed cup. It’s fairly tannic, with a bittersweet chocolate and muscatel finish and moderate level of astringency. This doesn’t taste like first flush Darjeeling.
Not sure what I think of it. It’s quite different from the kind of Darjeeling I’d pick out when reading tasting notes and smelling dry leaves before buying.
Flavors: Chocolate, Herbs, Muscatel, Nuts, Toasty, Wood