Folks, here is my final review of the day. This was another of my July sipdowns. Some of you may recall that I was extremely impressed by the 2016 version of this tea, and once I dug through my sample stash to find this offering, I was excited to try it. Well, I am happy to report that I found this offering to be even better than the one from 2016.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 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 roasted almond, rock sugar, cream, char, pine, raisin, and dark chocolate. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of orchid, blueberry, and raspberry as well as subtle scents of grass and baked bread. The first infusion introduced a slightly stronger baked bread scent as well as a subtle blackberry aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, cream, char, blueberry, baked bread, blackberry, roasted almond, pine, and rock sugar that were balanced by hints of grass, butter, raspberry, smoke, raisin, and black cherry. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, roasted peanut, cedar, rose, black cherry, butter, banana, cinnamon, and roasted grain. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of raisin, grass, butter, and black cherry came out in the mouth alongside very subtle hints of dark chocolate and slightly amplified raspberry notes. Impressions of cedar, roasted peanut, minerals, plum, rose, orange zest, and pomegranate also appeared alongside subtle roasted grain, cinnamon, banana, and nutmeg notes. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, cream, grass, butter, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted grain, and orange zest that were underscored by hints of pine, char, rock sugar, raisin, black cherry, blueberry, orchid, and pomegranate. There were also some hints of popcorn that came out late.

This was a tremendously enjoyable Qi Lan that yielded a liquor with a smooth mouthfeel and incredible depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth. Fans of the cultivar should find a lot to enjoy in this tea. Considering that Old Ways Tea is batting 1.000 with their roasted Qi Lan oolongs, I cannot wait for the 2018 and 2019 versions.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Grain, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Sugar

5 g 3 OZ / 88 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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