16 Tasting Notes
Brewed gongfu style, 10g in 200 ml Yixing pot, 95C. First infusion 15 seconds, +5 thereafter. Flash rinsed before brewing.
Honestly, in terms of flavor, all I can say is “umami.” I do not have a sophisticated or developed tea palate. The liquor was thick and almost syrupy. The last drop clung to my glass Gong Dao Bei like it didn’t want to let go. The color of the liquor approximated soy sauce, or a Medoc wine.
At first, I was sipping, trying doggedly to dredge up details for a proper tasting review. By the fifth infusion, I was like, “Rack ‘em up, bartender!” and belting down shots. This would be an awesome tea to drink with a rare filet mignon. After the sixth infusion, I decided to take a break, and will pick it up again this evening. After roughly 1.2 liters of this tea, I feel like I’ve just had really good sex. You know, muscles loose, mind cleaned out.
Brewed gong fu style in a gaiwan, 205F, 20 seconds initial infusion. Dry leaves heavy on the cherry notes. Gaiwan lid sniff after first infusion came back with cherry and toasted almond flavors. Very brisk and astringent in initial infusions, it mellowed out to a smooth, rich nuttiness over time. I probably could’ve gotten a couple more infusions out of it, but I felt myself hitting the caffeine wall.
Amazing thing about this tea is the aftertaste. An hour later, I’m still breathing through my mouth to savor it. It’s like walking though the woods in autumn, kicking up dead leaves with each step. This is the kind of tea you want to drink when you feel lonely, disconnected or anxious. It embraces you.
It smelled so pretty, and looked pretty too. But not much in the flavor department. Brewed this at 180F in a 100 ml gaiwan. Did three infusions, but never got beyond a slight vegetal flavor.
Brewed the remaining sample western style, 2 tsps at 90C. Much better. Floral notes followed by creamy notes
Brewed this at 212F in a 100 ml gaiwan. First two infusions tasted like straight up mushroom tea. By the third infusion, the mushroom note was blending with a simple, smooth black tea. Fourth infusion was bland and mediocre, despite brewing time of 1:30. I’m not a fan of mushrooms, so this gets a thumbs down from me.
I tried this tea twice and I just don’t care for it. The first time, I followed the brewing guidelines on the package. (NB: I brew Western style.) The tea was unremarkable. I tasted very little vanilla, but perhaps I didn’t stir the contents of the tea pouch enough.
I brewed a second batch (new leaves, well-stirred) using my traditional brewing method, 212F at 2:00 minutes. The tea was actually bitter and made me belch. I’m really sorry about that, because, at $10/oz., this was a rather pricey failed experiment. However, I gave the rest of it to my friend, who loves it, so an ill wind and so on.
The first brew offered mild creamy notes. Soft, inoffensive, but nothing remarkable. I laid out the leaves to dry overnight, and did a second brew this morning. Wow! First note was a light, bright mintiness. Successive sips brought out hints of rose and lemon balm. I don’t mean that nasty fake lemon balm smell from Pledge, but fresh, wild lemon balm. It’s clean, bright, and redolent of springtime.
Brewed at 195F; 3 minutes for first steeping, 4 minutes for second.