Teabento generously sent me over eight of their teas to review, and this is the first of them. I followed the steeping directions on the package, but since I don’t have a 200 ml vessel, I used a 120 ml teapot with about 4 grams of leaf. I steeped the tea for 50, 40, 60, 90, and 120 seconds. (I usually use more tea and do shorter steeps with high mountain oolongs.)
When first scooped into the teapot, the loosely rolled green nuggets smell sweet and savoury. The initial 50-second steep is buttery, floral and vegetal with no astringency. There’s also a lovely herbaceous/balsam note in the teapot that I wish had made it into the cup. More of this note emerges in the second steep, and while the bok choy-like vegetal quality is still present, the tea also becomes more floral (sweet pea flowers or something equally delicate, perhaps). I’m impressed that such long steeps produce no bitterness.
The next two steeps confirm that this is definitely one of the most vegetal Shan Lin Xi I’ve had, either because I used markedly different brewing parameters than usual or because this is its natural flavour. The balsam note also stays around, along with the sweetness. By the fifth steep, some of the complexity has disappeared, though the distinctive sweetness and vegetal notes remain.
Although I don’t think this is a typical tea for the terroir, it’s a very good one, and depending on the price, I’d gladly purchase it again. I’ll have to try the rest of the sample using my regular brewing parameters.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Butter, Cedar, Floral, Garden Peas, Herbaceous, Pine, Sugarcane, Vegetal