My new schedule is killing me. I made the decision to take a master gardening course with my parents, and it really sucks. Actually, I enjoy the course, but it meets every Monday night, and well, Monday used to be my long, slow day at work. Now, I have to get everything done by 5:00 p.m. so I can hop in the shower, get dressed, and make it to class by 6:00 p.m. I don’t make it back home until sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. I figured, however, that I would try to get a couple of reviews posted before I left. This was one of my sipdowns from last week. Though I tend to love teas produced from the Si Ji Chun cultivar, this one was a letdown. It was not terrible or even really bad in any way, just more or less mediocre and kind of forgettable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of raisin, plum, cedar, straw, honey, and plantain. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of malt, cream, and cherry that were accompanied by hints of vanilla. The first infusion brought out stronger vanilla scents as well as an oat-like aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of plantain, honey, raisin, cream, malt, vanilla, and straw that were framed by undertones of wood, baked bread, flowers, and cherry. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of baked bread, toasted rice, rose, and pear as well as subtle scents of roasted barley, orchid, and violet. Cedar, plum, and oat notes came out in the mouth alongside stronger and more upfront impressions of baked bread, wood, and cherry. Clear impressions of rose and violet were also present along with some very subtle hints of orchid. Furthermore, I detected impressions of minerals, caramel, pear, toasted rice, and butter along with some subtle hints of roasted barley and cinnamon. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering impressions of minerals, plantain, cedar, raisin, plum, malt, and cream that were balanced by hints of cherry, vanilla, butter, oats, and baked bread. At the very tail end of my review session, I also caught some suddenly amplified pear and cinnamon notes.

This was a pretty standard roasted Taiwanese Four Seasons oolong in just about every way. I will note, however, that it did possess respectable longevity, a smooth body, and a very nice, creamy mouthfeel. Unfortunately, those were the only qualities of this tea that stood out to me. Taken on its own, this tea wasn’t bad, but it also just wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. If you are at all familiar with roasted Si Ji Chun oolongs, I doubt this one will surprise you. In the end, I suppose I would not caution others to avoid it entirely, but if one were to choose to skip it, they would not be missing all that much.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orchid, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Rose, Straw, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Violet, Wood

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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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