I decided to commune with the spirits in the wee hours, so I broke out my newly arrived Ta Oolong from Tea From Vietnam and started a session right at midnight.
The instructions on teafromvietnam.com only listed Western brewing and I was in the mood for a long gong fu session so I winged it by putting 5 grams of these little pearls in my 100ml gaiwan and steeped it 12 times at 10/10/10/15/20/25/30/45/60/120 seconds, finishing with 3 and 5 minute steeps as the leaves gave out. By mid-session the leaves expanded to fill the gaiwan. Many of them were intact and quite large.
The dry leaf reminded me of fresh cut grass. Once warmed, aromas of buttered popcorn, florals and sweetness emerged. About ten minutes after the 5 second rinse these turned to strong tart and sweet fruits with moderate florals.
Time to get busy! The first steep was a very pale greenish-yellow and smelled of sweet cream butter and florals.
BTW I’m not familiar with flower aromas so my notes are vague in that area. If you want a really good breakdown of which flower types are present in this tea you should read Amanda Wilson’s post on it here: http://steepster.com/SoggyEnderman/posts/316753. She can tell you not only what type of flower but also what month she smelled it and the type of soil it grew in. I’m exaggerating (slightly) of course, but she does have a great nose and a way with words.
So, back to the first steep. The body is very light but the flavors are distinct, with a buttery and lively mouthfeel. There’s a slight citrus tang with sugar sweetness, stonefruits and floral notes in the retro-nasal exhale. It feels like this tea is still opening up.
Subsequent steeps increase in body although it remains light, the liquid becomes a light yellow, the mouthfeel turns creamy and the flavors intensify to a moderate level. The main notes I find in the cup are tart citrus, sugar sweetness, stonefruits and spice, with the occasional appearance of buttered bread and fruity notes. There’s a moderate amount of florals in the retro-nasal exhale across all steeps. The first ten steeps were the best. The last two long steeps had a mild astringency and the flavors began to fade.
I felt the energy in this tea mainly in my heart and head, and it left me with a calm and clear mind. I usually drink roasted or aged oolongs, not having found a jade that really “wows” me. This one, however, turned my head. In spite of the light body the flavors, aromas and energy struck me in a most enjoyable way. I bought 50 grams so there’s plenty left to revisit this, and I will.