I’m drinking this old bush Yashixiang from 2020 in my first gongfu session of 2022! I’m not sure if it’s a newer harvest of the 2019 tea reviewed by Togo or a different tea altogether, particularly because our tasting notes diverge quite a bit. (Then again, I don’t have a lot of experience with Dancongs so I could be missing some things.) I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 200F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of roasted almonds, cantaloupe, orchids, and char. The first steep has a fruitiness I can’t describe, kind of like kiwi, cantaloupe, and hints of cooked pineapple. The roast is noticeable but not overwhelming, and I get roasted almonds, orchids, and a metallic aftertaste. The second steep has mandarin oranges in the aroma and taste, along with char, wood, florals, minerals, brown sugar, and that melon/pineapple fruitiness. The third steep is more milky and floral, with cannabis, honeysuckle, orchid, and some vegetal undertones along with the fruit. The bottom of the cup smells deliciously like cantaloupe and pineapple. The next few steeps have notes of butter, caramel, roast, florals, and pineapple, and the roast is getting more pronounced. The end of the session is more savoury, with veggies, minerals, roasted almonds, butter, florals, wood, astringency, and honey.

While Ya Shi Xiang is still not my favourite Dancong varietal, I like this one much more than the others I’ve tried, mainly because the roast doesn’t overpower the fruity and floral components. It has a huge number of flavours, probably more than I can pin down in a couple sessions. I’ll probably pack some of this tea into swap boxes for those who enjoy more roasted Dancongs.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cannabis, Cantaloupe, Caramel, Char, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Honeysuckle, Kiwi, Mandarin, Metallic, Milky, Mineral, Orchid, Pineapple, Roasted, Vegetal, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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