This was one of the last tea samples I finished in September. At the time, it was one I had been looking forward to for at least a month since I had so greatly enjoyed the other old tree black teas I had tried from Old Ways Tea. Unfortunately, this one ended up being my least favorite of the bunch, but it was still a more or less very good tea.
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 followed by 17 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of raisin, honey, cinnamon, and cedar. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and malt. The first infusion introduced aromas of straw and brown sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, roasted almond, roasted peanut, straw, and brown sugar that were chased by hints of cream, raisin, and butter. Subsequent infusions introduced a strong mineral presence on the nose as well as scents of sweet potato, orange, and rose. Slightly stronger cream, butter, and raisin notes appeared in the mouth along with new impressions of minerals, candied orange, tart cherry, baked bread, blueberry, and rose. I also picked up barely perceptible impressions of cedar and cinnamon. Hints of blackberry and tobacco lingered in the mouth after each swallow. The final few infusions offered notes of minerals, malt, butter, rose, candied orange, and roasted almond that were backed by hints of cedar, brown sugar, cream, butter, and sweet potato.
This was a very complex and long-lived tea, yet it was also very dry and understated. Even for a Wuyi black tea, the mineral presence was particularly heavy both on the nose and in the mouth, and because of this quality, this tea was more notable for its sharp, crisp texture than the strength of its flavor components. Truthfully, people who love highly textured teas will probably appreciate this one more than someone like me who is more about powerful, memorable scents and flavors. I still greatly appreciated this tea, but I will go ahead and offer the opinion that this tea and others like it will likely not be for everyone.
Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peanut, Raisins, Rose, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco