Qilan Wuyi Oolong （奇兰武夷山乌龙茶）- Li Family, Wuyishan, Fujian, China
Spring 2020/春季 2020 (including the details on the bag here since I can’t find this tea on the Verdant website and from the tasting notes from 7 years ago, I’m not sure if I’m drinking the same thing as others are)
Got this as part of the 5 for $5 offer from Verdant Teas.
5g tea (whole packet), Brita filtered water, gaiwan 140 mL (not certain on full volume, but I use a standard gaiwan, and this sounds about right), water temp a bit off the boil
Dry leaves smell: chocolate, roasted oolong smell
7 s: first steep: smell of leaves: grassy, stones, green
Taste: very vegetal— Something like spinach, with some light note of bitterness. Unexpected. Good mouthfeel.
10s second steep: smell of leaves: something grassy and charred
Smell of tea: sweeter than previous
Taste: more bitter, still vegetal, slightly unpleasantly reminiscent of medicine
15s 3rd steep: same leave smell
Taste: still some bitterness, but more lingering sweetness, lingering taste somewhat reminiscent of mint or cilantro
30s: same smell, tasting a slight note of raw celery
47s: not picking up anything else noteworthy so going to throw the remaining leaves into a thermos and grandpa brew
I usually enjoy Oolongs more, but this tea, while not unpleasant, was not particularly outstanding in any way. Usually I might go for more gaiwan steepings to explore the remaining notes, but I wasn’t blown away by it, and I didn’t care enough to pursure it further. It’s been a while since I’ve done a gaiwan session since I’ve been really busy lately (so I’ve stuck to grandpa style brews with the jasmine tea I’ve amassed), so it was nice to take some time to myself today to do this. One thing I might adjust if I had more tea was brewing temp to see if that would’ve affected bitterness more, but I’ve always done water off the boil with oolongs, and controlled for time as my variable.
3/5 stars. Personally will not purchase more, but not a bad tea, all in all. I wouldn’t recommend against it, but I’m not going to recommend for it either. There’s better oolongs to try out there.
edit: this did not hold up to grandpa brewing very well. If anything, grandpa brewing only highlighted the bitter notes and left nothing else.
Flavors: Celery, Char, Chocolate, Grass, Green, Mint, Spinach, Wet Rocks