95

I’ve been wanting to try this Li Shan for while since it has gotten such rave reviews on Steepster. After finally getting my hands on a sample, I have to say this was worth the hype. Love it when that happens :-)

The leaves of this tea are rolled into giant green nuggets that have a fresh orchid scent. Wet leaf aroma is extraordinarily sweet with florals reminiscent of hyacinth and daffodils. The tea started off fairly thin and light with a bit of sugarcane. Figuring the water temperature was too low, I upped it to 200 F from 190 F to help bring out more flavor in the second steep. Out came a thick nectar of wildflowers and honeycomb. The following steep I used just under boiling water and got more pastoral flowers, minerality, and a fairly viscous mouthfeel that was very soothing. I was really beginning to feel the cha qi at this point.

From there on out, I used straight up boiling water for the next 6 steeps. It went through a complex taste evolution going from buttery to brothy and then fruity; all the while maintaining a distinct gao shan flavor. Interestingly enough, this tea was mostly fruity in the later steeps with little to no vegetal tones unlike other Li shan’s I’ve tried. I loved its sumptuous fruitiness and powerful cha qi. Also impressive was the incredible staying power that lasted through 9 steeps without any bitterness whatsoever.

After 2 sessions with this sample, I had slightly less than 2 grams left which I brewed western style. Though lighter, the western steep brought out more of the tea’s floral aspects into play.

Really impressed with this offering from What-Cha. It’s complexity and evolution of taste over infusions was quite nice. Definitely going to get some more of this tea with my next order.

Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Nectar, Sugarcane, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea years ago, and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and a few flavored teas. My tea epiphany came a few years ago when I discovered jade oolongs. That was the gateway drug to the world of fine tea and teaware.

With the exception of a handful of lightly scented teas, I drink mostly straight tea. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks are beginning to grow on me. I’ve dipped my toe into a few puerhs now but it’s still relatively new territory for me. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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