There are two versions of this tea available. One is a light roast, and the other is a run dry. Run dry is a refining process where the tea is roasted, but it is roasted so lightly over charcoal, it is more like a drying/refining step and imparts no smokiness or roasted taste to the tea, but is considered preferable to machine drying. It is described as being more gentle and preserving more of the more subtle elements in the tea. This method of processing was thought to be lost to time as most processing went to jade oolong in Taiwan, but Mr. Zhuan processed this old-school style, and the folks at Taiwan/Yunnan Sourcing have brought it to us. It is a tightly rolled. I went for the “run dry” version. This tea is not cheap, but I was highly curious after reading the backstory on the tea.
When smelling the dry leaves, I don’t get much citrus from it. Maybe it has lost some of that since it was produced. I tried really hard to detect it. Even looking for it and trying to force my nose to pick up anything citrus-like, I can’t get much. It would be like rubbing a lemon on a sheet of paper a month ago. That’s about how much citrus I detect. I then hit the leaves with water, and it smells a lot like stewed spinach. Hmm. That’s not a big plus for me. Just my personal preferences against this smell.
Tasting the tea, it reminded me of a milk oolong. Maybe I’m crazy. I don’t think it is supposed to taste like this. It was like oyster stew without the oysters—milky, buttery, and an Anxi-like green oolong taste. It is less umami/seaweed than many green Taiwanese oolongs I’ve had. I’m really questioning myself on this tea, because my experience seems so different from what I’ve read. The color of the tea liquor was bright yellow.
This one liked short steeps of a few seconds. It had some mild astringency no matter how I steeped it, but it did not like being pushed.
I’m glad I had a chance to try this. I wish I could have tried it sooner when it perhaps had more citrus notes. I drank through about 7 infusions of this. It just wasn’t for me. I’m not going to rate it, because I think it is a unique tea and hits some notes that just happen to not be my favorites.