Prior to trying this tea, I had kind of established the idea that Ya Shi Xiang was just not my thing and never likely to be. I’m still at a point where I am learning about Dancong oolongs as I go, but so far, teas like Mi Lan Xiang and Da Wu Ye have been consistently more satisfying for me. This tea, however, convinced me that it was absolutely necessary for me to be more open-minded about Ya Shi Xiang Dancong oolongs. I found it to be a wonderfully mellow, subtle tea with an absolutely fantastic texture in the mouth.
Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I found that the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, vanilla, and flowers. After the rinse, I noted emerging scents of roasted almond, butter, rose, violet, and orange blossom. The first infusion brought out some scents of toast and caraway. In the mouth, I noted mild flavors of roasted almond, cream, butter, vanilla, toast, and orange blossom. Subsequent infusions brought out the caraway, rose, and violet notes in the mouth. I also began to catch emerging impressions of minerals, steamed milk, earth, pomelo, lemon zest, watercress, damp grass, cattail shoots, banana leaf, and toasted marshmallow. The later infusions were predictably mild, offering lingering notes of cream, vanilla, toast, and minerals up front and fleeting nutty and vegetal characteristics on the swallow.
I’m rather used to Ya Shi Xiang Dancongs that offer a blast of caraway, rye, and muddy vegetal and earthy notes through the majority of a gongfu session, but this tea was much more mellow and displayed a greater integration and a more sophisticated layering of aromas and flavors. Unlike many Dancongs, this tea was also neither soapy nor slippery in the mouth. Instead, it displayed a wonderfully creamy, milky mouthfeel. In the end, this tea just struck me as being so nice that I cannot help but recommend it highly.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Grass, Lemon Zest, Marshmallow, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Rose, Toast, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet