This is another tea that I forgot I had. I bought it when it went on sale several months ago in order to compare it to the 2016 Spring Farmer’s Choice Baozhong (a tea for which I still need to post a review). I had heard that the winter 2015 harvest teas were very good and were holding up extremely well, so I figured that this tea would be worth the investment. As it turned out, it was.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. I then conducted 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I noted a slightly musty, vegetal aroma emitted by the dry tea leaves. It reminded me of a combination of peas, grass, and spinach. After the rinse, the vegetal, grassy aroma was still there and was joined by floral and citrus scents. On the first infusion, I noticed that the floral and citrus aromas were slightly more pronounced. There were also subtle scents of cream and butter, as well as traces of grass, peas, and spinach. In the mouth, I noted a floral quality up front that was balanced by cream and butter. The grassiness was fairly pronounced. I also noted touches of peas and spinach. I expected more of a citrus note, but all I managed to pick out was a very slight fruity tartness on the finish. Subsequent infusions were far more robust and complex. I noted aromas and flavors of cream, butter, grass, vanilla, tangerine, lime zest, and fresh flowers. Though the tasting note provided by Floating Leaves led me to believe that this baozhong was not particularly floral, I got a consistent floral quality from it. It reminded me of a combination of lily, gardenia, lilac, hyacinth, honeysuckle, and saffron. The floral quality was, however, not overwhelming or dominant in the mouth. Instead, it balanced the more savory and vegetal qualities of the tea. I also noted slight notes of spinach and peas, as well as a touch of minerals on the finish. The later infusions were very mild and smooth, offering mostly subtle aromas and notes of minerals, grass, cream, butter, and lime zest. When I really focused, I could still note a touch of flowers, vanilla, spinach, and peas, though these impressions were extremely distant and fleeting.
This baozhong surprised me. It displayed considerable complexity within its smooth, refined integration of aromas and flavors without an abundance of depth and body in the mouth. Indeed, the texture of the tea liquor was very thin and slick, which took a little while for me to appreciate. All in all, I was very impressed by this tea and think it would make a wonderful everyday baozhong.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Lime, Mineral, Peas, Saffron, Spinach, Vanilla