I have been so unmotivated lately. Granted, I have not had much time to do anything due to my work hours expanding, but when I have had free time, I have not been able to force myself to use it to contribute to Steepster. I’ve zapped some spammers here and there and have been reading the contributions of others, but I have not been posting any reviews of my own for the past 2+ weeks. With my backlog once again building back up, I figured I may as well take a moment to post something, so here goes.

This was a tea I finished a little earlier in the month. I went on a big Wuyi Shui Xian kick during the first couple weeks of December, sipping down several teas I had been wanting to try for some time. This was the first of the group to be finished and still sticks out in my mind as a quality tea. It was kind of a typical Banyan Shui Xian, but it delivered all of the expected characteristics of such teas with aplomb, so there is no reason for me to fault it. That being said, let’s move on to a more in-depth discussion of the tea itself.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 subsequent 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of cinnamon, baked bread, malt, clove, black cherry, dried blueberry, and strawberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, cannabis, smoke, rock sugar, and charcoal. The first infusion introduced aromas of minerals and cocoa coupled with some subtle narcissus scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, malt, baked bread, rock sugar, mushroom, earth, smoke, charcoal, cannabis, roasted peanut, and narcissus (if you have ever been in a field of blooming daffodils on a windy day and have smelled and tasted the pollen in the air, you will understand this specific flavor component) that were balanced by hints of dried blueberry, cocoa, grass, straw, and minerals. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orchid, grass, cedar, pine, earth, straw, butter, roasted barley, and juniper. Notes of clove came out in the mouth alongside hints of strawberry that grew stronger on each swallow and amplified notes of grass, straw, dried blueberry, and minerals. I also picked up flavors of orchid, juniper, pine, red apple, butter and plum as well as subtler sensations of black pepper (noticeable mostly on the back of the throat after each swallow), cream, vanilla, roasted barley, and cedar. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and began to emphasize mineral, roasted barley, malt, butter, baked bread, charcoal, and roasted peanut notes as well as a latecoming impression of toasted rice. Underlying hints of grass, smoke, cream, earth, vanilla, juniper, cinnamon, black cherry, rock sugar, strawberry, narcissus, and clove could still be detected, though they were almost always fleeting and elusive.

As Wuyi Shui Xian goes, this one produced a liquor that was very pleasant, and it also displayed respectable depth and longevity to go along with good body and texture in the mouth. It was clearly harvested and processed with great care and professionalism, and the obvious attention to detail on the part of this tea’s producer allowed its considerable gifts to shine. Though it was not the most surprising or intriguing Wuyi Shui Xian I have encountered to this point in my tea journey, it struck me as being one of the most lovingly crafted, and I could see it making an exceptional everyday tea for more experienced Wuyi oolong drinkers.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Black Pepper, Blueberry, Blueberry, Bread, Bread, Butter, Butter, Cannabis, Cannabis, Cedar, Cedar, Char, Char, Cherry, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Clove, Cocoa, Cocoa, Cream, Cream, Earth, Earth, Grass, Grass, Herbaceous, Herbaceous, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Mushrooms, Mushrooms, Narcissus, Narcissus, Orchid, Orchid, Peanut, Peanut, Pine, Pine, Plum, Plum, Red Apple, Red Apple, Rice, Roasted, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Smoke, Straw, Straw, Strawberry, Strawberry, Sugar, Sugar, Vanilla, Vanilla

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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