Bei dou. Dou bei dou bei dou :) One of the two yancha samples I have left from Verdant.
Classes were cancelled today and tomorrow because the air quality is so poor. Great – no class. Not so great – headache is still there and my asthma kicked in this morning. My programming prof is having a Google Hangout in lieu of classroom lecture but my laptop overheats with Hangouts for some reason so instead I’m chilling, reading Crime and Punishment and drinking tea tonight.
Gone gaiwan: 5g, 100mL, 212-200F, flash rinse followed by 9 steeps at 10/12/15/20/25/30/40s and 1/2m.
Dry leaf smelled like orchid, semi-sweet chocolate, cannabis, herbs, lemongrass, berry, celery leaf and faint roast. Warmed leaf scent was of roasted grains, orchid, semi-sweet chocolate, caramel, mint and juicy orange. Interesting things going on. The rinsed leaf scent was pretty much the same, very fragrant and more herbal.
The dark red-orange first steep was full of aroma: mineral, dark chocolate, berry, orange, spices, wood. This mellowed in intensity but the tea carried a wonderful sweet aroma and bottom of the cup scent until the end.
The liquor was a mouthful of flavor. The berry and orange notes of the wet leaf didn’t come through but there was lots of wood, chocolate and orchid, minerals and hints of marshmallow, graham cracker and geranium. And oh boy did woody tannins dry out my mouth. I didn’t figure out until about halfway through that I should probably not have used boiling water since the leaf is pretty green, low oxidation. Once I bumped the temperature down to 200F, the astringency smoothed and I was able to taste the more herbal qualities that were present in the dry leaf. The flavors also mellowed quite a bit at this point, I’m guessing because this tea was a flavor bomb upfront rather than the temperature creating this effect.
At this point I also noticed some aftertastes of watery vanilla caramel and orchid with a strong returning sweetness. Even though the tea packed a drying and flavorful punch in the beginning, it really smoothed out in the end, ending on the same tasting notes as the aftertaste with very little astringency and even some silkiness.
The roasting has settled and was well done. It really bought out some great, sweet aromas and tastes. I’d say this tea possesses a medium level of minerality. In retrospect, because of the lower oxidation, I’d start with even shorter steeps and 200F to possibly combat the astringency while hopefully not sacrificing flavor intensity.