888 Tasting Notes

90

This was another of my February sipdowns. This also seems to be a tea that only I flip out over from year to year. The Snowflower Bi Luo Chun was among my favorite Yunnan Sourcing white teas from the spring of 2017, so I just had to pick up some of the 2018 harvest before putting an indefinite moratorium on Yunnan Sourcing purchases. As it turned out, I enjoyed this offering about as much as the previous one.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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 buds presented aromas of hay, malt, molasses, corn husk, and grass. After the rinse, new aromas of lemon zest, basil, straw, and toasted sweet corn emerged. The first infusion introduced a cucumber scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of hay, malt, straw, corn husk, cucumber, and lemon zest that were balanced by hints of sugarcane, molasses, grass, and toasted sweet corn. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of lime zest, sugarcane, coriander, honeydew, and sour plum. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of sugarcane, grass, and toasted sweet corn appeared in the mouth alongside notes of cream, oats, butter, lime zest, minerals, basil, coriander, sour plum, lettuce, pear, and honeydew. I also picked up on some hints of sour apricot here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, straw, corn husk, lettuce, and butter that were chased by hints of toasted sweet corn, sugarcane, lemon zest, basil, plum, pear, hay, and cucumber.

This struck me as being a very satisfying Yunnan white tea. It was not the sweetest or most approachable white tea in the world, but it displayed a unique and sometimes challenging blend of aromas and flavors that I greatly enjoyed. Hopefully, I can try a more recent harvest once I clean out more of the tea hoard.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Coriander, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Oats, Pear, Plums, Straw, Sugarcane

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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77

This was one of my sipdowns from the second half of last month. It was also a tea that continued a troubling trend of Yunnan Sourcing Mi Lan Xiang not being consistently enjoyable for me. Much like the Classic Mi Lan Xiang from the spring of 2017 that I reviewed last year, this offering was more or less enjoyable but displayed some qualities that did not strike me as being all that appealing. It was not a bad tea, but it did have its flaws.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, orchid, peach, nectarine, cream, and lychee. After the rinse, new aromas of grass, sugarcane, roasted almond, and orange blossom appeared. The first infusion brought out subtle aromas of spinach, banana, and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of honey, grass, orchid, roasted almond, butter, and cream that were balanced by hints of lychee, vanilla, peach, orange blossom, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of coriander, basil, butter, pear, pineapple, lemon zest, and violet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of orange blossom, lychee, vanilla, sugarcane, and peach appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, coriander, spinach, tangerine, lemon zest, pineapple, pear, violet, plum, and nectarine. I also detected hints of basil (which grew stronger on each swallow) and green banana. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, sugarcane, pear, lemon zest, and tangerine that were chased by late emerging caramel accents and hints of spinach, coriander, peach, lychee, roasted almond, violet, orchid, and orange blossom.

This was an interesting oolong with some lovely flower and tropical fruit aromas and flavors, but it did not often pull all of its qualities together in such a way that I was provided with a balanced and consistent drinking experience. In particular, the way those basil notes swelled in the mouth after each swallow could be a bit much. Overall, this was not a bad tea. It displayed more good qualities than bad qualities. It just needed more integration and balance in its flavor profile.

Flavors: Almond, banana, Butter, Caramel, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Spinach, Stonefruits, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

This was my first sipdown of the month. I somehow ended up with a ton of this tea back in 2017 and put a 100 gram pouch in storage to test its aging capabilities. I finally broke that pouch out during the last week of February and spent most of that week plus the first few days of the current month finishing it. I found it to be a very nice Yunnan black tea and one that was indeed suitable for aging.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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 chocolate, pine, malt, cedar, cinnamon, and marshmallow. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of baked bread, raisin, burnt sugar, honey, and roasted almond. The first infusion introduced aromas of orange zest and black cherry that were underscored by hints of smoke and geranium. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of chocolate, burnt sugar, cinnamon, malt, and baked bread that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, cedar, pine, and orange zest. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of roasted peanut, vanilla, leather, prune, camphor, and black pepper. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, cedar, pine, and orange zest appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, roasted peanut, raisin, leather, marshmallow, vanilla, earth, cream, prune, and cooked green beans. Hints of grass, smoke, caramelized banana, black pepper, geranium, camphor, and black cherry could be detected as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, burnt sugar, roasted peanut, malt, cinnamon, and orange zest that were chased by hints of leather, roasted almond, black pepper, chocolate, baked bread, camphor, and pine.

This was a rock solid and very likable Yunnan black tea at a great price. It also seemed to have deteriorated very little in nearly three years of storage. Though one could easily find more unique and challenging Yunnan black teas on the market, this one proved to still be well worth a try. I could definitely see a tea like this making a great daily drinker and a fantastic introduction to the wonderful world of Yunnan black tea.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Camphor, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Sugar, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
tea-sipper

…but 100 grams of the same tea in a couple weeks?!? I think I’d get so bored…

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91

This is about to become the newest victim in my 2020 sipdown campaign. I have not quite finished the last of this tea, as I still have 3 or 4 grams left, but I will very likely finish it up later this evening. The last Jing Gu White Pekoe Silver Needle I tried from Yunnan Sourcing greatly impressed me, and this tea has also been a favorite among the spring 2018 white teas thus far. I found this particular production to be a little smoky and somewhat spicier than the 2017 offering, which struck me as being smoother. Overall, this one is about as good.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 180 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aomas of hay, grass, eucalyptus, and sugarcane that were underscored by a subtle smoky scent. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of straw, wood, peanut, lemon, and basil. The first infusion introduced aromas of tree bark, white pepper, and minerals. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented soft notes of hay, grass, straw, cream, wood, eucalyptus, lemon, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler impressions of oat, butter, cinnamon, and white pepper. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of oats, butter, cinnamon, cream, lychee, plum, vanilla, thyme, and wheat toast. Mineral, basil, and tree bark notes appeared in the mouth alongside subtle peanut and smoke impressions and more immediately apparent flavors of oats, butter, cinnamon, and white pepper. I also detected notes of vanilla, lychee, plum, wheat toast, malt, apricot, rosemary, cantaloupe, honeydew, and thyme as well as hints of white peach, camphor, watermelon rind, and wintergreen oil. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, oats, cream, butter, wheat toast, hay, lemon, basil, watermelon rind, and sugarcane that were underscored by delicate hints of eucalyptus, white pepper, thyme, wood, cinnamon, lychee, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

It seems that the Jing Gu teas almost always end up being some of my favorite Yunnan offerings from year to year, and this one was yet another Jing Gu tea I quickly came to hold in high regard. I adored the gorgeously layered and integrated aromas and flavors this tea offered. I also continue to appreciate the fact that the Jing Gu Silver Needles always seem to be less reserved than the more highly regarded Fujianese Silver Needles. Speaking of Silver Needle white teas from Fujian Province, I really need to get around to trying some more in the coming year. I haven’t had any in forever.

Flavors: Apricot, Bark, Butter, Camphor, Cantaloupe, Cinnamon, Cream, Eucalyptus, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Melon, Mineral, Oats, Peach, Peanut, Pepper, Plums, Smoke, Straw, Sugarcane, Thyme, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

This was another of my recent sipdowns. As a matter of fact, I finished this tea late last week. It was another that I had been looking forward to trying for some time, and with winter steadily winding to a close, it seemed like an appropriate time to break out a floral, fruity oolong. To be honest, it’s always oolong time for me. I drink them year round. Anyway, this was a very nice oolong. I was a little surprise to see it draw a mixed response based on the two previous reviews.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, pine, cedar, straw, honey, and peach. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, malt, blackberry, and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced aromas of rose, violet, and baked bread as well as a subtle dark chocolate scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, butter, malt, rose, peach, and honey that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, straw, cream, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange blossom, orange zest, plum, and minerals as well as subtle scents of cream and brown sugar. Stronger roasted almond notes came out in the mouth alongside impressions of orange blossom, orange zest, minerals, rose, roasted peanut, violet, pine, cedar, blackberry, brown sugar, mulberry, and plum. I also detected hints of lychee, pear, cream, dark chocolate, and black cherry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, rose, mulberry, and orange zest alongside amplified pear notes and subtler impressions of blackberry, violet, peach, cream, honey, black cherry, and brown sugar.

This was a tremendously aromatic and flavorful oolong that did a more or less very good job of approximating the character of a quality Taiwanese Oriental Beauty. Compared to some of the Taiwanese Oriental Beauties I have tried, it was a bit rougher and maltier, though not to the extent that the drinking experience was negatively impacted. Overall, this was a very nice offering. I don’t really understand the lukewarm reception it has received to this point.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Rose, Straw, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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80

Okay, now that I have access to a working computer again, it’s time to post a review. This was my most recent sipdown and a tea I had been eager to try for some time. Prior to trying this tea, I had never had a brandy oolong, so this was a new experience for me. I was a little surprised to see that this tea was produced from Qing Xin (Green Heart), a cultivar generally associated with Taiwanese oolong production. Overall, this ended up being not quite what I expected, but it was a very pleasant, solid tea nonetheless.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, molasses, sweet potato, and baked bread. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced scents of orange zest, pine, brown sugar, and cinnamon. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, roasted almond, roasted peanut, baked bread, and brown sugar that were balanced by hints of pine, cinnamon, and sweet potato. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of plum, red apple, Asian pear, lemon zest, and malt. I also noted a very subtle cocoa scent at times. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of pine, cinnamon, and sweet potato appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging notes of orange zest and hints of molasses. Impressions of Asian pear, plum, red apple, minerals, malt, red grape, and lemon zest were also apparent. I could even pick up some hints of smoke, earth, nectarine, and cocoa here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, roasted almond, Asian pear, plum, orange zest, and red apple that were underscored by hints of honey, roasted peanut, brown sugar, baked bread, and lemon zest.

Since I did not know what to expect out of this tea going into my review session, I reflected on its name and came to expect a warming, smooth, sweet tea. It ended up displaying all of those qualities, but after a point, it struck me as being more nutty and citric. It didn’t really remind me of brandy in any way. It also was the sort of oolong that peaked quickly and then faded rapidly before evening out and clinging to life for an extended period of time. By the time I called it quits, the leaves were still producing a noticeable amount of aroma, but I was not getting much flavor out of the tea liquor. Anyway, this was a pleasant, easy-drinking Fujianese oolong with respectable longevity. The only real knock I can think of is that it was neither a consistently engaging nor uniquely captivating offering.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Earth, Grapes, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Smoke, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

This is another old review that has been sitting around unposted since either November or December. At the time I was working on this one, I only had a mini sample of this tea to work with, but I have since acquired a larger amount, so I will very likely be posting an updated review of this tea at some point in the next few months. My first impression of it was very good. I was obviously a huge fan of What-Cha’s previous Guranse offering, so my expectations of this tea were high, and fortunately for me, it did not disappoint.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 195 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of pine, straw, hay, peanut, grass, chrysanthemum, dandelion, and rose. After infusion, new aromas of malt, butter, cream, apricot, toast, plum, orange blossom, and green bell pepper were apparent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, hay, straw, pine, grass, cream, butter, rose, toast, dandelion, apricot, pear, plum, orange blossom, chrysanthemum, violet, green apple, white grape, peanut, chestnut, hazelnut, lemon zest, and green bell pepper. The finish blended floral, vegetal, and nutty characteristics with subtle maltiness, mellow notes of butter and cream, clear and distinct impressions of lemon zest, white grape, green pine, and pear, moderate astringency, and some lingering apricot and plum hints that were most apparent after each swallow.

Overall, I found this to be a very nice Nepalese black tea. The liquor was a bit thinner than the previous Guranse offering that I tried, but that was ultimately a minor quibble. This was still a very complex, pleasant, and balanced tea. Fans of Nepalese black teas should get a lot out of it.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Hazelnut, Lemon Zest, Malt, Orange Blossom, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Rose, Straw, Toast, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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93

Okay, I guess I’m back on Steepster for now. It seems like I never get time to post any reviews anymore. I’m reaching into the backlog with this one, as this was a tea I finished sometime back around November. I enjoyed this tea greatly, more so than the previous reviewer.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, malt, chocolate, and butter as well as a subtle sweet potato scent. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and spearmint that were coupled with a greatly amplified chocolate aroma and a subtle black raspberry scent. The first infusion brought out a roasted peanut scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, sweet potato, butter, cream, brown sugar, roasted almond, and malt that were balanced by subtler impressions of chocolate, black raspberry, vanilla, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of raisin, oats, brown sugar, vanilla, black cherry, and black currant as well as a somewhat stronger black raspberry aroma and a subtle pine presence. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of chocolate, vanilla, and black raspberry appeared in the mouth alongside mineral, oat, blackberry, black cherry, gooseberry, black currant, spearmint, and pine notes. I also picked up hints of fig, earth, blueberry, raisin, and honey. As the tea faded, the liquor amplified the raisin and earth notes, though impressions of minerals, baked bread, pine, malt, cream, and butter remained strong. Underlying hints of spearmint, roasted almond, vanilla, honey, black cherry, sweet potato, brown sugar, and chocolate continued to provide some depth, balance, and intrigue.

This was a very nice offering that came off as a refined hybrid of a Taiwanese Assam and a traditional Vietnamese black tea. I could see it pleasing fans of both types of tea. If you are looking for a new and experimental black tea, this would be one well worth trying.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Currant, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Fig, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Raspberry, Spearmint, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
derk

Glad to see your impression of this tea!

Martin Bednář

It osunds like a nice tea :) In wishlist, because of your review.

eastkyteaguy

Derk, thank you. I keep trying to get on here and write more, but my work schedule, health concerns, and consistent difficulty logging in to my account due to 503 errors make it almost impossible for me to do on many days. I also do not have internet access and no longer have cell service at home (which I’m trying to remedy today).

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91

This was one of my last sipdowns of 2019. I had been curious about this tea for some time, and after a conversation about the lifespan of teas in storage with a fellow Steepsterite in which this tea was mentioned as being one that didn’t hold up, I decided to break it out and give it a try. Leafhopper, I know I promised you I would post a review of this tea nearly a month ago or something like that. Sorry about the wait. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this tea’s vitality after nearly two years of storage: I could not tell that what I had of it had faded at all. It was a little more mellow than a super fresh Dancong oolong, but I could not pick up any signs of deterioration. As a matter of fact, I greatly enjoyed this tea. I found it to be a great Dancong oolong. I went into my review session expecting to end up kicking myself over waiting too long to try it, but by the time I wrapped the session up, all I could think about was how spectacular this tea struck me as being.

Now, with all of the above being said, I could very well be the outlier here. My experience may not reflect that of others in any way. To be sure, there will be differences in perception from person to person. The amounts of tea that different people will receive from the same batch may be of different quality. There will be differences in a tea’s lifespan in storage based on individual storage practices and differences in environment. Certain pouches of tea can even be sealed improperly, resulting in contamination and/or deterioration prior to shipment. So many things can happen that can lead different people to have totally differing opinions of the same tea, and that’s before you can consider things like differences in equipment used, water type and quality, brewing methods, the overall condition, attention span, and experience level of the person doing the tasting, etc. It’s very, very rare that two opinions will be identical, and it may very well not happen at all as every palate is different.

Anyway, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of rose, cream, butter, custard, pear, lychee, tangerine, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and grass. The first infusion saw the rose aroma intensify and a subtle coriander scent appear. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of rose, grass, butter, cream, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler notes of lemon zest, cracked pepper, coriander, pear, custard, and green apple. The subsequent infusions teased out aromas of lemon zest, orange candy, cracked pepper, grapefruit, green apple, dandelion, basil, and baked bread. Stronger and more immediately apparent impressions of green apple, pear, coriander, lemon zest, and cracked pepper appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging lychee and tangerine notes and impressions of orange candy, minerals, dandelion, dandelion greens, and yellow plum. I also noted hints of basil, violet, baked bread, grapefruit, and roasted almond. Each swallow left a lingering herbal coolness and a pleasant aftertaste of rose and green apple. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, green apple, grass, pear, dandelion greens, lemon zest, coriander, cream, butter, and sugarcane as well as suddenly amplified impressions of roasted almond. Subtler notes of rose, dandelion, custard, tangerine, and basil lingered in the background.

This was a very challenging and unique tea, but it was also very enjoyable. It was very tightly layered and demonstrated a good deal of complexity. This tea also displayed a number of aroma and flavor components that I do not often get out of Dancong oolongs. Overall, I did not have a problem with this one, though I do have to admit that I think I may have gotten a bit lucky with it. Teas that are very tightly composed and have tons of little intricacies can produce a liquor that seems totally dead on the nose and in the mouth if you have recently had anything to eat or drink or if you are having any sort of sinus and allergy issues. I have chronic sinusitis and terrible seasonal allergies. I normally get infection after infection over the winter months, but I have been fortunate so far this winter and tried this tea on a warm, clear day when I was not having any issues and had not consumed anything else prior to my drinking session. I think that’s why I got as much out of this tea as I did. And who knows? I also may have gotten lucky with the amount of tea I had in the sense that it may have just held up better in storage for me. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing. But yeah, I did enjoy this tea and found it to be an excellent offering overall.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Candy, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Grapefruit, Grass, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Mineral, Orange, Pear, Pepper, Plums, Rose, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

This was another of my recent sipdowns. It was also the most recent spring 2017 black tea to be finished by me. At this point, I only have one pouch of spring 2017 black tea left to finish, 100 grams of Yunnan Black Gold that I bought specifically to age. Anyway, this was an excellent Yunnan black tea. Like the others I have tried this month, the extended time in storage did not seem to have affected it much if at all.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of smoke, malt, cedar, pine, and molasses. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut and roasted almond. The first infusion brought out a baked bread aroma as well as a subtle sugarcane scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of smoke, malt, cream, butter, baked bread, roasted almond, cedar, and pine that were chased by subtler notes of molasses, raisin, sugarcane, plum, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cream, butter, raisin, caramel, marshmallow, anise, vanilla, sweet cherry, chocolate, roasted pecan, and orange zest. Notes of minerals, caramel, anise, marshmallow, vanilla, sweet cherry, stewed apricot, chocolate, roasted pecan, and orange zest appeared in the mouth alongside hints of earth, camphor, and black pepper. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, cream, smoke, raisin, caramel, chocolate, and marshmallow that were balanced by hints of camphor, anise, sweet cherry, sugarcane, butter, roasted almond, and vanilla.

This was one of the more interesting Yunnan black teas I have tried. Generally, I expect Yunnan assamicas to be very assertive and robust in the mouth, but this tea was gentler and sweeter. Its age may have had something to do with that, but I think a good deal of it was just inherent. I also appreciated that I could immediately pick out the characteristics imparted by the Jinggu terroir. I have long felt that Jinggu teas have some very unique properties, specifically a pleasant and lively mouthfeel and fresh, earthy, uniquely sweet, and herbal aroma and flavor characteristics, and such properties were on clear display in this tea. Overall, I would recommend this tea or a more recent version of it to people who are established fans of Jinggu teas and/or those who are interested in getting a feel for the characteristics of the Jinggu terroir.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pecan, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

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