This was one of my more recent sipdowns, coming from around the start of last week. I took forever to finish to this tea. Why? Well, Yunnan Sourcing actually gave me somewhere around 32-33 grams of it instead of 25. Also, I thought it was pretty much horrible.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions as well as loud cursing and profound disappointment. Steep times for those additional infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of osmanthus, peach, nectarine, honey, and blood orange. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of violet, orange blossom, roasted almond, and straw. The first infusion introduced aromas of sugarcane and plum. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of osmanthus, violet, orange blossom, roasted almond, peach, nectarine, and honey that were complimented by hints of sugarcane, grass, straw, plum, and blood orange. So far, so good, right? Yeah. That was actually a great first infusion. It can’t go wrong from here. Well, BRACE YOURSELF, FOOL! Muddy, bitter vegetal impressions started building in my throat and at the back of my mouth after I finished my first cup. This quickly filled my mouth and nose, totally drying my mouth out and leaving a gauzy, filmy feeling as if I had just enjoyed a couple large glasses of high proof grain alcohol. The bitterness and stinging astringency were horrible. From this point, it did not get better. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of grass, butter, coriander, spinach, brown sugar, cherry, and pomegranate as well as subtle scents of orchid and cucumber. Slightly stronger and more immediate grass, straw, sugarcane, and plum notes came out in the mouth alongside impressions of butter, minerals, cream, sour cherry, gooseberry, pomegranate, red currant, spinach, coriander, orchid, and watermelon rind. I also noted hints of brown sugar, lemon zest, basil, and cucumber that were most evident on each swallow until that horrible astringent, alcoholic, bitter rush of nastiness returned to lay siege to everything above my shoulders. And this happened every single time I took a sip. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, grass, coriander, cream, butter, and spinach notes that were complimented by hints of sour cherry, roasted almond, osmanthus, sugarcane, lemon zest, cucumber, basil, honey, violet, and watermelon rind. Naturally, the monster continued making appearances after each sip right through the end of the session. I was really not joking about it coming back after each swallow.
I have no clue what was wrong with this tea. I thought it might have just been me, so I gave it a few days and tried it again, but I kept getting the same results. I tried brewing it Western style, and it was the same situation all over again. Trying a slightly different gongfu method yielded near identical results. When I could actually pick out aromas and flavors, what this tea had to offer was very nice. There was a lot to appreciate there, but what followed each attempt to consume, understand, and enjoy what this tea had to offer was so genuinely unpleasant that it ruined the entire drinking experience. What’s even worse is that I found this tea’s energy to be frenetic and overwhelming. I was bouncing off the walls after each drinking session, and I rarely ever get amped after drinking oolong, especially to the point that I feel sick afterwards. I feel like there had to have been something wrong with the tea I received. Maybe it was contaminated by something. I have no clue. At this point, all I can do is wonder why I suffered through the entire pouch. I clearly do not make good decisions.
Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Blood orange, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Coriander, Cucumber, Fruity, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Melon, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peach, Plums, Spinach, Stonefruits, Straw, Sugarcane, Violet