This review is one of many that I have been sitting on for several months. I know I finished what I had of this tea at some point during the first half of August. It seems crazy to me that I’m this far behind. Heck, I have one review from November 2018 that I still need to post, a few random things from July and September, and a whole chunk of reviews from August and October, not to mention an incrementally growing number of unpublished reviews for the current month. I have no clue if/when I will get everything posted here. At this rate, it will be sometime in either December or January even with my tea consumption greatly decreasing. Anyway, I recall this being a tea I was a little reticent about trying, as I loved the 2017 version of this tea and was concerned about this tea being described as less grassy. Ultimately, I found it to be less grassy and more fruity and floral, but I think being fruity and floral instead of overtly grassy worked for it. Now that I think about it, though, I don’t recall the 2017 tea being all that grassy. I’m pretty sure I also found it to be more fruity and floral, so I guess I was making much ado about nothing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 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 produced aromas of baked bread, malt, straw, grass, honey, and cream. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted peanut and butter made themselves known alongside a subtle sweet potato scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of vanilla, roasted almond, and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of baked bread, malt, grass, straw, cream, honey, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of butter, vanilla, violet, and pear. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals, cocoa, candied orange, rose, pear, kumquat, red apple, and brown sugar. Sweet potato notes appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident impressions of vanilla, butter, and pear. The violet presence was also slightly amplified. Notes of cocoa, brown sugar, red apple, minerals, rose, candied orange, plum, peach, and kumquat appeared, and I even picked up a slight menthol presence in the aftertaste. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, candied orange, cream, butter, honey, malt, and sweet potato notes that were underscored by pleasant grass, kumquat, brown sugar, cocoa, rose, and violet hints.
Compared to the 2017 offering, this was a much sweeter tea, though it also displayed the savory characteristics of that tea. Having tried both, I can say that the 2017 tea struck me as being more balanced, more substantial, and more textured, while this one was lighter, sweeter, quirkier, and livelier. I think I had more fun drinking this tea than its older counterpart. Honestly, I found both teas to be very enjoyable. The 2017 offering felt more refined and a little more complete to me, but this tea was an absolute blast to drink and pick apart.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Grass, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Red Apple, Rose, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Violet