Another entry for Love You Oolong Time! I had this one last night gongfu-style in my 150 ml beginner gaiwan. I am very much a beginner to Asian-style brewing… even with the beginner-style gaiwan I am still having trouble with the heat of the gaiwan against my fingers while pouring! Once I’m better at it, I’ll move up to purchasing the real deal, hahaha! This is only the third time I’ve done a gongfu session. I’m still very new to the process, but am really enjoying gaiwan brewing when I have the time to sit down and enjoy my tea at a more leisurely pace.
This is a tea sample from the Here’s Hoping Teabox (thanks tea-sipper and participants!) for an oolong I’ve never tried before, the Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Dancong from Zen Tea Life (and from what I can tell, that site now only sells teaware, not tea). I used 200 degree F water, and my first infusion after rinsing the leaf was 30 seconds, and each subsequent infusion was increased by 15 seconds.
The first infusion was the most unpleasant for me. It had a malty sort of flavor with some lovely honey notes, but there was this smokiness to it that I found very off-putting; I am not a fan of smoky teas or flavors. But that was, thankfully, the only infusion where I got that particular flavor note, as the second infusion brought out some floral notes, and a slight bit of stonefruit, with a pleasant lychee aftertaste. By the third infusion the tea had become very sweet, and I was really getting the honey and orchid notes, with the fourth infusion very similar, with the sweetness tasting a bit like brown sugar or molasses. Sadly by the fifth infusion this tea was already losing steam, and my remaining infusions were a sweet, waning honey flavor with some subtle floral notes.
I had just a bit of leaf leftover, so I decided to just make this a sipdown and used it up with a western-style brew, sipping on the cuppa while watching the new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I used 200 degree F water and a two minute steep. The cuppa had a very smooth base with a malty, honeyed flavor. There was a brown sugar-like sweetness to the liquor, and just the faintest hint of lychee right in the finish, but I couldn’t pick out any floral notes when brewing the tea this way.
I really enjoyed the flavor of this tea, particularly when brewed Asian-style and getting to the sweeter infusions with heavier floral notes, but I was pretty unimpressed with how little stamina the tea had, and how quickly the flavor gave out, making for a fairly short gongfu session. Perhaps that could be to blame on me being such a beginner and needing to adjust and shorten my infusions (I’m still working at it!), or maybe it’s just not the best tea of this sort… who knows? What I do know is I definitely want to explore other Mi Lan Xiang Dancong oolongs in the future, since I really enjoyed the taste of this type of oolong and am very happy I got a chance to sample one!
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Orchid, Smoke, Stonefruits