I’m getting caught up on the backlog in baby steps. I finished a sample pouch of this tea late last week. It took me longer than expected to find a listing for this tea on Steepster because it seems that What-Cha started sourcing their Tieguanyin from a different producer within the past year. The version of this tea that I am reviewing is a 2016 autumn harvest from Gande Village and this listing was clearly for the Gande Village Tieguanyin. The Tieguanyin What-Cha currently lists is an autumn 2017 harvest from Changkeng. Anyway, I tend to greatly enjoy Gande Village Tieguanyin. This one was certainly no exception.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. What-Cha recommended a water temperature of 185 F for this tea, but that seemed a little low to me. I’m used to using anywhere from 194-208 F for jade Anxi Tieguanyin, so I decided to up the water temperature to 194 F. The initial infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. 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, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of cream, butter, sweetgrass, lilac, and violet. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of custard and vanilla. The first proper infusion brought out a hint of saffron. In the mouth, the liquor offered mild notes of sweetgrass, cream, butter, violet, and oddly enough, hints of green apple, pear, and some sort of citrus. Subsequent infusions brought out the custard, saffron, vanilla, and lilac to differing extents in the mouth. The green apple and pear notes grew stronger. The generic citrus notes started to more closely resemble tangerine. New notes of mango, minerals, coriander, and parsley also appeared. The later infusions emphasized butter, mineral, cream, and sweetgrass notes balanced by lingering hints of green apple, pear, and tangerine.
This was not the most complex or challenging Tieguanyin I have run across, but it was consistently good from start to finish. Sometimes just dealing with a nice, respectable example of a particular tea is better than anything, and for me, that was the case here. Fans of jade Tieguanyin probably will not find anything terribly interesting or unique about this tea, but it may just be the sort of tea they would choose to turn to when they want to drink something good and solid. I’m a big fan of jade Tieguanyin and that is the role this tea ended up playing for me. All in all, I think it can do the same for others.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Mango, Mineral, Parsley, Pear, Saffron, Vanilla, Violet