Gotta be impressed with the wonders of the internet and its ability to connect people. I got a message from Logan, the marketing director, on instagram because he liked my reviews and wanted my input for this tea. I was kinda thrown off since I’m used to being relatively isolated on social media, but it was a happy surprise. I’ve been looking for a Qi Lan, and I really like Hugo Teas, so I was pretty ecstatic. Logan already upfronted some description of it being floral, woodsy, and fairly smooth. It was from Banyan material from his source, maybe wild, from the year 2018. So then I got 50 grams, and here’s my input.I personally am into this tea.
Yancha was something I’d be really into at the beginning of my tea journey since I was a black coffee drinker looking for some alternatives, but I moved away from darker oolongs to the more floral, namely Qi Lans and Dan Congs….nevermind I also moved away from Chinese TGYs.
Qi Lans are my favorite yanchas since they tend to be more on the floral side of higher oxidation and roasting, and they can have similarities to Dan Congs. I did semi-western gong fu, beginning with 45 seconds, and adding 10-30 second depending on color and aroma. Qilans also tend to have a mixed reaction from people depending on processing and roasting. Some like it dark, I tend to like it greener, or a balance of both. I also noticed you never get the same flavor for this kind of tea, and it heavily varies from season to season even from the same producer. This makes Qilans a little bit more niche in who drinks it.
This tea has ample floral aroma, heavy with almond, jasmine, bamboo, florals, and minerals. The first steep emphasized almond, but steeps 2-3 were heavy with jasmine and orchid. Steeps 4-5 became weirdly fruity and a little spicy, edging on sweet-tart strawberry, ginger, and plantain with its continued woodsy, mineraled, and floral profile. I’d be curious if I get the fruity notes again since I usually don’t get them from a Qi Lan. Overactive imagination messing with my palette, maybe? Logan mentioned maybe lavender and prune. I’m going to have to see what I get next time. Otherwise, immensely floral and sweet.
Later steeps were long, and had the jasmine, banana, and wood, but with a drying slightly bitter aftertaste kinda like dried bamboo and dirt. It was a little astringent, but not overly so. I stopped there.
I’m not sure how I’d market this one since it’s a lot softer than some other teas, but I think some people might be thrown off by the plaintain woodsiness. I do think that you were right, Logan that it could have used a hair more roast, but at the same time, this is pretty close to how I like my Qi Lans. I like being able to taste the florals, and the weird fruit notes appeal to my inner tea snob. As for other people’s preference, I’m not sure. My mom was into this one because it tastes like a jasmine tea in some ways, but she was not into it when I gave her a later brew since she thought it was too bitter. I also do not see Qi Lans be written about that often here. A good chunk of the Qi Lan notes are mine, my friends, recommended in our little circle, or from older bloggers and posters. I very rarely see Qi Lans even on blog sites, so I’m throwing out the question to you for fun, the audience in the digital ether:
What do you think about Qi Lans, and what kind of people would drink them?
I curiously wait for your reply. In the mean time, I’m going to experiment more with this one to see what I think.
Flavors: Almond, Bamboo, Bitter, Floral, Ginger, Jasmine, Mineral, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Wood