Going back over my reviews of the teas from Old Ways Tea that I have posted over the past couple of months made me realize that I mentioned how impressed I was by this tea in my review for the 2017 version of it, yet I never bothered to post a review of this one for the sake of comparison. With that in mind, I dug through my review notebook, found my review notes for this tea, and promptly started hammering away on this Steepster review. At this point, I will just be a bad writer and do what I am not supposed to do by going ahead and stating that this was one of the best and most satisfying Wuyi black teas I have ever tried. You can stop reading here if you want.
For those still interested, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of malt, cedar, pine, and honey. After the rinse, I noted a new roasted almond aroma underscored by some cinnamon hints. The first infusion then brought out subtle aromas of butter, cream, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially presented notes of cedar and pine that were accompanied by a touch of smokiness before transitioning to reveal notes of malt, butter, and roasted almond. Subtle impressions of leather, orange zest, honey, and cinnamon then emerged on the swallow, though a subtle mineral presence was left in the mouth afterwards. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn smokier, maltier, and spicier. The aromas of cedar and pine were more pronounced, and a subtle nutmeg aroma also emerged. Eventually, the nose became much more mineral-heavy. Cream belatedly emerged in the mouth, and the previously mentioned malt and mineral notes were amplified. New notes of cocoa, ginger, and wet stones appeared alongside subtle impressions of nutmeg and apple. A cooling herbal note reminiscent of tobacco was noticeable on each exhale after swallowing, dominating the aftertaste. The final infusions offered lingering roasted almond, malt, and mineral notes balanced by subtler impressions of pine, cedar, honey, cinnamon, leather, and tobacco.
A ridiculously powerful, captivating, and complex black tea, this was an absolute tour de force in the best qualities of traditional Wuyi black teas. After a point, all I could do was just sit back and try to take it all in. This was by far one of the best Wuyi black teas I have ever tried, and that is saying something considering the fact that I have tried an appreciable number of them. If you are a fan of such teas, I cannot recommend this one highly enough.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Butter, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Pine, Smoke, Tobacco, Wet Rocks