I’m back after a long absence. A lot has happened in the last 2+ months. As some of you may recall, I accepted a position with the state back in November. That did not work out. Friday will actually be my final day in the position. I am supposed to be starting a new job on Monday, but now a monkey wrench has been thrown into those plans. Earlier today, I was offered my first real position in my field. The Pike County Public Library District offered me a contract to fill the vacant catalog manager position and have asked that I provide an answer by Monday. I clearly have a very big decision to make. Anyway, I am way behind on posting tea reviews due to my two jobs, school, laziness, etc. I’m trying to get back into it now, but I make no promises as to how well this will go.
This was one of my sipdowns from early February and a tea that I had been meaning to get around to trying for some time. For whatever reason, I became very focused on Chinese tea in 2020 and 2021 and did not devote much time or money to teas from elsewhere in the world. The newer Taiwanese teas went pretty much totally ignored. I wanted to rectify that oversight and opted to try this one first. Honestly, it was a very solid GABA oolong. I have been a little surprised by some of the lower scores I have seen for this tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose leaf and bud sets in 4 fluid ounces of 190 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud rolls emitted pleasant aromas of cinnamon, honey, straw, sour cherry, black raspberry, plum, and bread. After the rinse, I detected a stronger sour cherry aroma alongside novel aromas of roasted almond, raisin, and cream that were underscored by a subtle vanilla scent. The first infusion introduced a mineral aroma and subtler scents of toasted rice and earth. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, oats, butter, roasted almond, honey, sour cherry, bread, and minerals that were chased by delicate hints of banana, vanilla, toasted rice, raisin, and sugarcane. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of pie crust, oats, butter, orange zest, sugarcane, pine, and roasted carrot to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of raisin and sugarcane appeared in the mouth with impressions of pie crust, black raspberry, orange zest, chocolate, pine, apple, and roasted carrot in tow. I also noted pleasant, persistent hints of plum, straw, earth, molasses, cinnamon, caramel, pear, and horehound in the mix. As the tea slowly faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, honey, cream, bread, roasted almond, sugarcane, orange zest, oats, and raisin that were chased by somewhat ghostly, lingering touches of sour cherry, plum, pie crust, apple, butter, caramel, vanilla, and pear.
At the time I was working my way through what I had of this tea, it had been ages since I had tried a GABA oolong. I was expecting something heavier, maybe a bit more like a Taiwanese black tea, but this tea immediately reminded me of some of the other GABA oolongs I had tried. I couldn’t really tell that the heavy oxidation had added all that much to it. That gripe aside, this was still a very likable GABA oolong. It displayed great complexity in the mouth and very respectable longevity. It also produced a lively, heavily textured tea liquor that shifted from syrupy and almost cloying to smooth and creamy to thin, sharp, crisp, and mineral-heavy over the course of a lengthy gongfu session. I’m not sure I would ever pick it over some of the other GABA oolongs I have tried, but I did enjoy what it brought to the table. It was a very solid, appealing tea overall.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Black Raspberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Herbal, Honey, Mineral, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Pastries, Pear, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Straw, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Vanilla