I had to dig through my review notebook for this one. I knew I had a few reviews from July that I still needed to post, and this was one of them. I think I finished what I had of this tea around the end of the month, but I could be wrong as it’s been a while. I do know that I found this tea to be on par with Old Ways Tea’s 2016 Huang Guan Yin, perhaps just a little bit better.

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 followed 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 cream, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry that were accompanied by subtle scents of cinnamon and plum. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, rose, and roasted grain as well as a subtle scent of smoke. The first infusion introduced a slight earthiness to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, roasted peanut, and roasted grain that were balanced by hints of cinnamon, mushroom, smoke, earth, roasted almond, and rose. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of dark wood, grass, charcoal, and roasted beechnut as well as subtler scents of roasted hazelnut, malt, and strawberry. Notes of black cherry, minerals, grass, charcoal, dark wood, plum, roasted beechnut, roasted hazelnut, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth along with slightly stronger rose and roasted almond notes and hints of green olive, malt, tar, and strawberry. As the tea faded, the liquor took on stronger malty and earthy characteristics while also emphasizing notes of minerals, cream, roasted peanut, grass, and roasted grain that were balanced by hints of green olive, roasted hazelnut, roasted almond, blueberry, and brown sugar.

This was such an interesting and complex tea. Compared to the 2016 offering, this tea struck me as being both fruitier and nuttier. It also offered some unexpected twists and turns over the course of my gongfu session. It was very satisfying and struck me as a truly excellent offering, but I could also see it not being for everyone.

Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Wood, Earth, Grain, Grass, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nutty, Olives, Peanut, Plums, Raspberry, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Strawberry

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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