I’m still plowing through some of the oolongs I acquired earlier in the year and toward the end of last year. This was one of them and I have to say that to this point in my life, this was the absolute worst oolong of this type I have tried. Normally, Four Season oolongs are very floral, sweet, smooth, and pleasant, but this one was thin and watery with an uneven mix of flavors and little staying power.
I gongfued this tea. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions that I had to more or less force myself to get through. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced subtle aromas of sugarcane, violet, and orchid. After the rinse, new aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, and grass were revealed. The first proper infusion more fully brought out the floral character on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered hints of grass and spinach on the entry before giving way to subtler hints of cream, butter, vanilla, sugarcane, and orchid. Subsequent infusions brought out vanilla and spinach on the nose and violet in the mouth. I also discovered notes of green apple, Asian pear, lettuce, lily, lilac, seaweed, and minerals. There was a slight graininess to these middle infusions as well. It seemed more than a bit out of place in a tea like this. I noted that the floral aromas had a tendency of turning pungent before suddenly fading, leaving me with a thin, uneven, and unpleasant mix of savory, fruity, and vegetal characteristics coupled with something of a gritty graininess. The later infusions were buttery, though mineral, grass, seaweed, and lettuce notes remained in play. I could detect no lingering fruity or floral sweetness.
I may be being a bit harsh here, but I found this tea to be nothing short of a disaster. I kind of think this was a bad tea to begin with, but I also think it had started to fade by the time I got to it. I even noticed that the leaves looked a bit weird when I first opened the pouch, as the dry leaves were an unusually bright, dusty green. In terms of aroma and flavor, there was surprising complexity, but none of it ever came together and there was little depth. A horribly uneven drinking experience and also a flat-out bad one, I would recommend that curious drinkers pass on this tea. There are plenty of better Four Season oolongs on the market. In my opinion, What-Cha, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, Taiwan Tea Crafts, and Floating Leaves Tea all offer much better examples of this type of tea.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grain, Grass, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet