Sampler Sipdown September! I loved the Wild Lapsang Souchong sampler I got from Dazzle Deer, but that 5g was gone in no time (like, a day). So I picked up this wild lapsang souchong sampler by Whispering Pines Tea Company from a cupboard sale by Ost. Thank you, Ost! The dry leaf smells like rose petals to me, which I don’t remember of the Dazzle Deer version… (Did I sniff the leaf that time? Hmm…)
I only brewed the Dazzle Deer version western, so this time I decided to make the tea both gong fu and western, as it’s the weekend and I have the time to do a gong fu session! And yes, I’m using my tiny, adorable 50ml gaiwan again. The more practice, the better. I think a black that doesn’t have the crazy expansion of a rolled, super-leafy oolong may be a bit easier for a noob like me, anyway.
(I will say my pour was much better this time, I only dribbled on the table three times this time!)
Gong fu / 2g / 200F / 50ml / Rinse|5s|8s|12s|15s|18s|25s|30s|60s
The aroma of this tea smelt like rosebuds, hot chocolate, orange rinds, and happiness! Usually I can’t answer when someone asks me “What is your favorite tea?” but unsmoked wild lapsang souchongs may start becoming my go-to answer to that question! The first infusion was a bit malty with a citrus-orange flavor, but had a strong floral finish that tasted just like chocolate roses… divine! The tea was so smooth and sweet, with so little astringency left on the tongue it is hardly worth noting. The orange flavor was a little more pronounced at the beginning of the sip on the second steep, but the finish was the same chocolately-rose note. The third steep was the most unique; the floral note wasn’t as pronounced, the chocolate note was more dark/bittersweet, and there was a peppery spice note on the finish, so the fruity orange flavor mixed with the spice reminded me of a mandarin sauce. The remaining steeps were very floral, with a rosy aroma and flavor, with a citrusy finish. By the sixth steep the tea was starting to lose flavor, but I pushed it to eight, remaining to get a little malt, orange, and rose, albeit weaker, in the later steeps.
Western / 2.4g / 200F / 350ml / 3m
The aroma of the brewed tea smells like sweet mandarins, reminding me of sweet and sour sauce. I’m not getting any of that rosy aroma that was so prevalent during my gong fu session.
This is certainly more similar to the Wild Lapsang Souchong I had before from Dazzle Deer — but then, I only ever had that one western brew, as well. I’m getting a rich cocoa flavor, though the finish is slightly malty, with hints of orange and a very subtle pepper spice. The tea is over all very sweet and smooth, and I think, thanks to my prior experience drinking a cup of this gong fu style prior, that the sweetness left on my tongue in the aftertaste is more of a floral rose sweetness, rather than a honeyed sweetness, which is what I was tasting from the Dazzle Deer Wild Lapsang Souchong. Is that simply a matter of them being different sources/harvests, or a matter of my palate reading that flavor note differently thanks to the gong fu session? No clue! I will say it certainly isn’t a strong rosy floral note like I was getting during the gong fu session, where I felt like I was walking through a rose garden, the aroma was so strong, and I could’ve sworn I suddenly had a rose-flavored black tea; that particular note is very subtle in the western brew, while the malt and fruity orange notes are much more dominant.
Honestly, I enjoy both! I love the really chocolate-rose flavor fading into delicate-rose-garden, and I also enjoy the malty, cocoa, fruity orange notes with that hint of floral sweetness. I think this is just a tea that can do me no wrong!
I think I prefer this wild lapsang souchong just slightly over the one I tried previously, only because of the rose floral note that I tasted in this one that I don’t remember tasting in the other, which I enjoyed so much, especially coupled with the natural cocoa and orange notes in this tea. Delicious!
Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Orange, Pepper, Rose, Smooth, Sweet