This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the month. I had been meaning to get around to drinking this tea for a couple of months, but I first got on a big black tea kick and then moved on to Wuyi oolongs before finally breaking this tea out to change things up and prevent myself from falling into a rut. It had been way too long since I had reviewed a Dancong oolong anyway. Unfortunately, this tea reminded me that Xing Ren Xiang is not always one of my favorite types of Dancong oolong. I sometimes find them to be a little too gritty and/or soapy in the mouth, and I also sometimes find them to be a little boring. Both criticisms applied to this tea, but honestly, it was not bad overall.

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

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of roasted almond, cream, custard, and orchid as well as some indistinct citrus and pineapple aromas. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of orange blossom, geranium, vanilla, nutmeg, and grass as well as stronger and clearer pineapple scents. The first infusion introduced aromas of tangerine, peach, and steamed milk. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted almond, cream, orchid, steamed milk, grass, tangerine, and orange blossom that were chased by hints of peach, geranium, butter, wood, and nutmeg. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of wood, rose, pear, plum, sugarcane, butter, and honey. Slightly stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of geranium, wood, and butter appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging notes of custard and vanilla and hints of pineapple. I also picked up on notes of cucumber, rose, plum, roasted chestnut, roasted hazelnut, pear, sugarcane, and honey. The previously noted peach hints gradually grew a little stronger on each finish, and I also thought I caught some hints of violet here and there. As the tea settled, the liquor turned grittier and more astringent, offering notes of minerals, wood, roasted almond, steamed milk, grass, and butter that were backed by hints of pear, plum, sugarcane, vanilla, and roasted chestnut.

This tea offered some interesting aromas and flavors, but it also flattened out relatively quickly and turned a bit grittier and more astringent than I had hoped it would. At its peak, it was a nice Dancong oolong, but I quickly grew restless with it and found myself ready to move on to something else. Overall, it was a pretty decent tea, but it struck me as being flawed. I have had better and more memorable teas of this type.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Butter, Chestnut, Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Geranium, Grass, Hazelnut, Honey, Milk, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Rose, Sugarcane, 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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