75

I was able to try gongfu with this tea, so here are some updated notes.

Gongfu (3g/60ml/85 C), 10 steeps total:
I started with a 10 second steep and added 5-10 seconds for the first several infusions, then gradually increased the additional time; final, 10th steep was 5 minutes.

The lid of the gaiwan throughout had a sweet roasty aroma, somewhere between burnt sugar and caramelized winter squash. The brews start out a pale golden amber that grows deeper amber with each steep. The aroma of the brew is hard to describe – the main scent and flavor through all infusions is what I (unhelpfully) identify as “smooth black tea” – basic, familiar black tea with no bitterness, no brisk or brash flavors to hit you in the face, etc.

The roasted/toasted notes that were prominent in western brewing are lightly present almost the whole time, only beginning to fade around steep 9. There is a little malt, but that is never a strong note; there is a light sweetness, but it never crosses into syrup, honey, caramel, or any other kind of flavorful sugar. I think YS describes the tea as having a “sugar cane” taste, but even that attributes more flavor than I was able to pick up. The impression I was left with was of clear corn syrup – a little sweet, but without any accompanying related flavors. In the first couple steeps there is a hint of buttery taste & texture that adds to the suggestion of roasted squash, but this too fades quickly.

The middle steeps barely hinted cocoa powder and brought a touch of dryness, and while the leaves themselves began to smell more earthy, that flavor never really materialized.

In the final steeps I tried pushing the temperature to 90 C to see if I could coax out any more flavors, but all this did is bring out some more dryness/astringency and a little bitterness.

Overall, I’m afraid I found the Mojiang disappointing when brewed gongfu. It was mild & pleasant, but all the flavors were light, with no strong impressions – no layers, no complexity, no real changes between steeps. (I’d rate this 65 with gongfu.)

I’ll stick with western or, more likely, cold brew with this tea, as that yielded the most interest.

Sqt

Agreed. I much prefer this western style over gongfu, though that tends to be my preference for most black teas. Gongfu just results in a much simpler and boring experience for me, whereas western style the different flavours layer together to create complexity.

Leafhopper

I never thought of trying this Western style. I agree, gongfu’ing this tea doesn’t do it any favours.

Girl Meets Gaiwan

Western was definitely better than gongfu, but ultimately I enjoyed cold brew most – it’s how I finished out the bag.

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Sqt

Agreed. I much prefer this western style over gongfu, though that tends to be my preference for most black teas. Gongfu just results in a much simpler and boring experience for me, whereas western style the different flavours layer together to create complexity.

Leafhopper

I never thought of trying this Western style. I agree, gongfu’ing this tea doesn’t do it any favours.

Girl Meets Gaiwan

Western was definitely better than gongfu, but ultimately I enjoyed cold brew most – it’s how I finished out the bag.

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I’ve been a tea drinker for at least twenty years, but only began to explore fine teas in the last few. Learning to brew gongfu style in my first gaiwan made me aware that not only is there an amazing array of teas out there to try, but each tea has the potential to have a great variety of flavors revealed by different preparations.

I’m still figuring out what works for me as far as tasting notes/ratings, but whenever possible (tiny sample sizes and time commitment often being limiting factors), I like to brew each tea I try a few ways: gongfu style, western style, cold brewed. I’ve enjoyed seeing how these treatments change any given tea, especially since some teas may fall flat in one preparation but improve or shine in others.

I’m hoping to gain more education in greens and whites. I’m intimidated by (but curious about) pu-erh. Oolong and black teas are my go-tos.

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