Tillerman TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Very, very good tea that was a sweeter than expected. I loved the unroasted, and got this one for comparison. The two were a lot closer than I imagined. The dry leaf aroma was very much like cookies, roasted nuts, macadamia, almonds, vanilla, and potato chips.
First off, I tried it western just to plow through. I’d thought it be like the dry leaf, and while it was, a melon note sneaked through with more florals, lead by a heady violet and magnolia. They rose up, then fell in later steeps. The later ones were more heavy with the roasted nuts and cooked vegetables western.
Gong fu, much the same happened, but the florals were more concentrated in steeps 2-5. First brew was a wash of 15 sec, then 25, 20, 30, 35, 40, 50, 65, 55, 65, and every other brew improvised in minutes. Later steeps were a little bit more vegetal, but still had some acidity of some melon. Overall, it was floral, nutty, buttery, and akin to some butternut squash.
I was very pleased with this one and like it a little more than the unroasted version in some ways. I kept on coming back to it that I actually sipped it down in two days. This is what I’d want in any mildly roasted dong ding and do recommend it.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Butternut Squash, Cookie, Floral, Gardenias, Melon, Nuts, Potato, Roasted Nuts, Savory, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, Zucchini
Sipdown backlog from Friday. Gong fu, 35, 25, 20,30, 45, 120, 150, ?, ?, ?,seconds, 4-5 grams, 4-5 oz.
Especially rich with lilac, macadamia, vanilla, and frosty floral notes amidst spinach and greener ones. It got more vegetal in the later notes. The Traditional Oxidation is slightly tastier because it’s fruitier, but this one remains as an extremely satisfying Dong Ding. It’s pretty close to being a 90 for me and it’s not bad for it’s price, but I personally want to save up room in my cupboard for both the snootier and the cheaper teas I have. I still would recommend it because Phoenix Village Dong Dings are good period, and it’s good for the free shipping in the U.S.
Flavors: Almond, Citrus Zest, Floral, Frosting, Jasmine, Nutty, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Vegetal
A lot like the Phoenix Village Dong Dings I’ve had, especially Eco-Cha Club’s version. Swiss chard, savory butter, vanilla, nuts, florals, and thick texture…despite having an accident of what should have been gong fu into western, then back into gong fu with steeps going up 20 second increments. Luckily it’s forgiving.
The thing that stood out about this one is the floral notes at the end being a little bit closer to some Baozhongs I’ve had then regular Qing Xins. It’s actually 29% oxidised oolong, and it does have everything else that’s normal for a dong ding, but the notes rise and shapeshift into a floral bomb the aftertaste.
I’m really into it, and I got it for $6.25 for 1/2 oz, so it’s not as expensive as it could be. I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can get from it.
Sip down western. I didn’t tumbler it when I could have, but I think I got to enjoy more out of it western/gong fu combo style (closer to Japanese brewing style with 45-minute sec increments) with 9 steeps. I was impressed by the fact that the later steeps were more floral and creamier that earlier ones. It’s not a super flavor forward tea, but it’s complex.
My biggest gripe is the price. I know the tradeoff of free shipping is upping some of the tea prices, and I do this one is unique from a less common way of making Dong Ding, but I’ve had very similar style teas for cheaper, and the other Phoenix Village Dong Ding that Tillerman has is extremely close to this one for less. This one enjoys having more dimension than the others and is usually a 90’s rated tea for me, but the above $10 for half an ounce still gets me.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Coconut, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green, Nut Fruits, Nutty, Peach, Savory, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
Medium length note…hopefully.
I got some of my Tillerman Targets for my birthday. I’ve had 35% oxidized and Fenghuang Village Dong Dings before and frickin’ love them, and needed to have some even if it was just a sample. I hesitated getting this one because it was a woppin’ $13 for 1/2 oz….yikes, but I know I’d enjoy it. The free shipping in the U.S. and the price of the other teas made me decide yes since I only got samples.
I will be honest and kinda messed up the brews. I used close to 3-4 grams in 5 oz and brewed it western to save some leave due to how pricy it is. Thankfully, the tea was still forgiving after about 3 minutes in steep one. Most of the flavor was absorbed in this cup. The aroma was fairly subtle with all the usual notes you’d expect from a high mountain, but the flavor leans more into nuts and with some slight fruits. Steep one began with the macademia note, transitions into coconut, butter, lightly cooked fresh vegetables, and then into a weird floral fruity mix of peach and cream creating an interesting sensation on the roof of my mouth, coating my sinuses.
I haven’t had sinusy tea in a while, so this was a treat. The remaining steeps were improvised increments of 30 seconds, increasing the steeping time and increasing some lemongrass and curd in the later steeps. It only lasted about 6 cups before it got to generic.
So while this tea fits every parameter I like hitting the flexibility of a tea you can be kinda neglectful and still be good, I’m not going to rate it yet. I need to do it gong fu before I decide. I definitely like it, but I’ve had some traditionally oxidised Dong Ding that I’ve liked equally for cheaper. Price and longevity are the biggest things bugging me about it.
I hope that Gong Fu blows me away. Unfortunately, higher unroasted Dong Dings have been harder to come by than they used to be and some of the Dong Dings I’ve had for the last three years haven’t matched the 2014 and 2015 seasons I’ve had. To think about it, I think I’ve had tea from this producer before….This tea does match those, but I wonder if the fact that the practice has been fading is the reason why the tea has become more expensive. Though I could be totally wrong. I’d be happy to have some knowledge drops in the comments.
I bought this premium Meishan Alishan to compare with the regular Meishan version. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 20, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of heady spring flowers, honey, cookies, and grass. The first steep has intense notes of lilac, sweet pea, narcissus, and other flowers, plus butter, corn, bok choy, spinach, herbs, and grass. The second steep has green tea–like veggies balanced with herbs, flowers, and faint sweetness. The predominantly vegetal notes continue into the next few steeps, although there are plenty of floral, honey, and herbaceous notes as well. The end of the session focuses on kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, and other veggies, with a slight floral sweetness.
I was not expecting this tea to make such a swift and merciless descent from sweet Alishan florals to veggie soup. Maybe it was my brewing parameters, although I did my best to follow Tillerman’s instructions. I’ll keep experimenting to see if I can justify giving this tea a higher rating.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Broccoli, Butter, Cookie, Corn Husk, Floral, Grass, Green, Herbaceous, Honey, Kale, Narcissus, Spinach, Vegetal
This is my second Tillerman Tea review (the first was posted during the Steepster website mess). I bought a sample of this tea to compare it to their premium Alishan. Following their brewing times, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 20, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of heady flowers, cookies, and grass. The first steep has notes of honeysuckle, lilac, daffodil, grass, butter, spinach, and cookies. The second steep is even more floral, though with some vegetal flavours. I also get honey and an herbaceous aftertaste. The herbaceous notes get stronger in the next couple steeps, but so, unfortunately, does the spinach and grass, with the honey, cookie, and florals fading into the background. A hint of citrus appears in the lingering aftertaste. (I think these long aftertastes are becoming a theme for Tillerman’s tea selection.) The end of the session is vegetal, creamy, and floral.
As the website claims, this is a straightforward tea that provides a good introduction to high mountain oolongs. I kind of wish it had more complexity, but will gladly finish my 12 g sample. I also wish the website gave timing instructions for more than the first two steeps, as I feel it might have done better with different brewing parameters.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cookie, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Narcissus, Spinach, Vegetal
Well, I finally caved and got six teas from Tillerman, just in time for no one to be able to read my notes. That figures. I was also certain there were some reviews of Shan Lin Xi oolongs from this company that I could use as points of reference, but I can’t find any, possibly due to all the Steepster glitches. As I’ve probably said before, Shan Lin Xi oolongs are among my favourites and this one was affordable, so into my cart it went. More or less according to the vendor’s instructions, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 30, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few long steeps.
The dry aroma is of resin and sweet flowers. The first steep has heady notes of orchid, lilac, and sweet pea, plus slight resin, custard, grass, and butter. The second steep has herbs, spinach, lettuce, grass, custard sweetness, and flowers. This tea has gone vegetal really quickly, and I wonder if I oversteeped it. The body is still smooth and heavy, and maybe this is what is meant by “good grip?” The third steep gives off a waft of some sort of “mountain glade” air freshener, which is probably a combination of flowers and sweetness and is actually kind of appealing. The tea achieves a good balance of vegetal, floral, and resin in the next three or so rounds, and there’s a tiny bit of cooked pineapple in the liquor and at the bottom of the cup. The next couple steeps introduce more veggies, including spinach and kale, and a condensed milk sweetness. As expected, the final few steeps are more or less grassy and vegetal.
This tea fits my idea of what a Shan Lin Xi should be, though it has fewer fruity notes than its counterpart from Floating Leaves. (They’re both somewhat pricy U.S. companies made even less affordable by the exchange rate, so I naturally tend to compare them.) As the session progressed, my rating went up from an 80 to an 83 to an 86, which is a fair indication of its quality. Surprisingly, Tillerman’s steeping parameters worked, and I might start subjecting all my high mountain oolongs to boiling water now.
Flavors: Butter, Custard, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Kale, Lettuce, Milk, Orchid, Pineapple, Resin, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
Squeaky clean tea! The floral and vegetal flavors are in great balance with the overall profile leaning toward bright citrusy tones, sugarcane sweetness, alpine air and cooling fir/pine. Balanced body, minerality and astringency, some returning sweetness. In each session, I’ve brewed the leaf with longer steep times, something like 30/20/20/25/30/45/60/etc and it doesn’t want to give up. The tea is consistent; it isn’t highly complex nor does it have a lasting aftertaste but it does shine in its balance and longevity.
Flavors: Butter, Citrusy, Cookie, Fir, Floral, Flowers, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Grass Seed, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mineral, Peach, Pine, Plant Stems, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla
It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve temporarily switched residence. My new tea station is at the kitchen table (as opposed to my bedroom/teacave) and I’m living with 2 people, so I’m drinking tea more socially than at home. Neither of them appreciates tea, though, beyond the odd teabag. I’ve offered but you know. Anyway, I haven’t been focusing on the tea too much since I’m usually chatting.
Overall impression of this Alishan — holy creamy, pungent bulb flowers and grass, later peach gummi rings. Very forward. Body vacillates between full and thin, possibly as a result of the leaves not having enough room to fully and evenly expand in the pot. Some minerality. Steeps forever. Acidity like green apple comes out in late steeps, along with rough astringency. With my first go at this tea, I was unable to brew it out so the leaves went into a jar in the fridge for cold-brew. Really pleasant result there.
I received this tea in place of something else I ordered. I neglected to rectify the situation out of pure laziness. Not unhappy with the accidental swap but it’s also not something I’d go out of my way to order. While I like puerh and black tea with forward personalities, I favor nuance in Taiwanese oolong.
I got a surprise package in the mail from derk today! What a delight and mood lifter! I was momentarily flummoxed and wondering if we had a swap that I forgot or if I had forgotten to mail some tea or…but when I opened it up the note said, “Why not?” That really made me smile!
It was a beautiful evening with the moon visible well before sundown and a tiny breeze. We decided to have gong fu cha outside and I chose this tea from the package because derk included it especially for my husband’s tastes and I knew it would be his favorite of this batch. (I have been wanting to try Moon Princess for a while now and the two black teas sound right up my alley!)
We used the incense I bought from Verdant and stayed until it was all gone, so we were having tea for about an hour. The incense makes a pretty good timer!
I did a quick rinse and oh my goodness the first steep was brilliant. It was so sweet and floral! My husband is a second steep guy and as usual he loved the second steep more than the first. The floral aspect softened and there was a nice lightly soft veggies with butter flavor. The tea was also creamy in texture. Delicious!
By the fourth steep the leaves had gone from a wee sample to absolutely huge and filling the pot completely. I lost count of steeps but I would say we had twelve or so.
Thank you, derk, for the surprise package! It really did my heart good!
I picked up a 1/2oz sample from the SF Tea Festival 2019. At the show, I tasted the 3rd steep of the tea and it was tasty, so I had to pick up some to try at home.
Summary: This is a very lovely, but understated tea that is great for when you something lighter in flavor. It definitely has the Lishan qualities - nice milky/buttery flavors intermingled with lovely floral notes. It’s extremely well balanced in flavors; good viscosity that coats the tongue with an astringency that you can feel on the tongue and partially down the throat, with a medium finish. This tea if fairly consistent throughout steeps.
Tillerman Tea recommends the following: 6grams per 100ml @ 212F for 25 seconds, then 20s, then increasing from there.
I sometimes follow the recommendations, but in this instance, I didn’t, preferring to try this first with my general brewing style to an unknown tea — 5 grams / 150 ml of water — but I did use the recommended brewing times.
150ml water @ ~200F for 25s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60secs, etc.
As mentioned earlier, the steeps were fairly consistent in aroma and flavor profile.
This is not a complicated tea, but it is very good. i suspect that if I brew this at the recommended amounts (6grams per 100ml of water), the flavors will be much more intense. I’ll update this review once I get around to doing that.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Milk
After a very nice South Indian lunch I made today, I felt like having a darker Taiwanese oolong, so this sample I have from derk came handy :)
Even better, this turns out to be the best Hong Shui I have tried thus far.
The tea smells of cocoa and peach cake. It has a very interesting tart and metallic quality on top of the expected notes of rock sugar and stonefruits. There is a strong lemon flavour too. The liquor is silky and medium bodied, but not coating, an intriguing texture. After swallowing, it leaves my mouth salivating for a while, which enhances the aftertaste. I can also see some strange mix of warming and cooling effects like derk noted. Overall, the tea enhances my perceptions and makes me more focused, which is good, because I should get back to work now :)
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8b4-6E8zjA
Flavors: Alcohol, Cake, Cocoa, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Lemon, Metallic, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruit, Sugar, Sweet, Tart
ORGANIC CHINGJING HONG SHUI (RED) OOLONG SPRING 2018
Today, I blew through the sample of this Hong Shui I purchased at the SF Tea Fest. This was my first time tasting a Hong Shui and I’m finding it difficult to pin down. In some ways it reminds me a lot of the Taiwan Amber GABA Oolong I love from What-Cha, especially with its rock sugar sweetness. This tea though, has more of an understated nutty, grainy, baked or dried stonefruit vibe than roasted pear and apple. Maybe a little nut/grain milky quality? The liquor is thin and silky and leaves a surprisingly full and warm feeling in my throat and chest but remains cooling in the rest of the mouth and body; strangely refreshing for a roasted oolong. Long dried fruit/floral aftertaste. Complex and beyond my focus today. Perhaps I’ll come back for a rating after I try the other two Hong Shui in my cupboard.
Seems to do better with higher leaf:volume and short gongfu infusions.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Mint, Roast Nuts, Stonefruit, Sugar
Purchased at the SF Tea Fest. This organic gaoshan was offered as a replacement for the Spring 2018 harvest that had already sold out by the time we rolled around on Sunday afternoon. Tillerman Tea was probably my favorite booth at the fest. He and his partner were full of answers when I unloaded with questions, they presented not one gimmicky claim and I felt like there was no pressure to buy. I appreciated that given the overwhelming nature of the event. Most importantly, they let the tea speak for itself.
Gone gaiwan: 6g, 150mL, 212F, rinse (drank) plus 13 steeps starting at 10s.
The dry leaf is very fragrant with a range of florals including lilac, daffodil, hyacinth, gardenia and lily. It is also typically vegetal with some cream and butter. Warming brings out a hit of vanilla and fresh sugarcane. The rinse opens up the vegetal aroma into scents of spinach, pine, watercress and white pepper.
The first steep is thick, smooth, oily and round with no bitterness nor astringency despite using boiling water. The leaves open almost completely after the first steep. Daffodil and pine and very light vegetal and sweet lemon notes lead the way. These transition into stronger floral notes with additions of osmanthus and faint macadamia and dried coconut. Puff pastry presents as a long, coating aftertaste. I get a faint whiff of popcorn in the aroma and something spicy in the mouth, a tinge of cassia. Very relaxed and sweating.
With the fifth steep, the liquor lightens into fresh vegetal-herbaceous flavors including sugar snap peas, raw corn, fresh herbs, squash blossom and flower stems. A faint astringency becomes noticeable, along with some cooling menthol that coats the back of the tongue and light minerals which make my tongue tingle. I notice a pleasant bite in the throat and the sugarcane returning sweetness. Butter comes through moderately in the aftertaste.
With the eighth steep, the florals finally begin their fade and give way to a thinner brew highlighted by cream, light sweet vanilla, cooked yellow corn, minerals and some lemon still noticeable around the salivary glands.
This seemed like a standout tea even almost 2 years past harvest. While predominantly a heady floral tea, the non-spinachy vegetal base provided a nice balance and the liquor was well rounded by sweet, buttery, pine/herbal, and citrusy qualities along with that slight spicy bite. I would definitely recommend this tea to somebody looking for a high-quality, organic gaoshan.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Coconut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Herbs, Lemon, Menthol, Nuts, Osmanthus, Pastries, Pepper, Pine, Plants, Popcorn, Round , Smooth, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal
Here’s the last high mountain oolong sample from my Tillerman order. I was underwhelmed the first time I brewed this tea. The flavor was a little weak and it didn’t have much oomph. Slight upping the leaf to water ratio really gave it a big boost in flavor.
This tea is packed with lots of bright flowery notes. It opens with sweet pea and orange blossom before giving way to narcissus, daffodils, and a hint of vanilla. Aromas of meadow flowers, butter, and something like clover honey waft out from the gaiwan. The tea has a thick body and a creamy mouthfeel, leaving behind a nice little tingle on the tongue as it goes down.
I’ve been impressed overall by the quality of the teas I’ve had from Tillerman Tea. The bao zhong was good, and the Ali Shan and Li Shan were both stellar. Oddly enough, as a jade oolong enthusiast, it’s their “Sweet Scent” Dong Ding that I find myself craving the most.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Honey, Narcissus, Orange Blossom, Peas, Vanilla
This is a solid, if not spectacular, baozhong. It does better gongfu’ed than grandpa style, which is my usual method of brewing this type of tea. Dry leaf aroma is a sweet medley of lilac and hyacinth. The first steeping was thick and TGY-like, brimming with heady lilacs and orchid. Second steep was more or less the same with a little egg yolk in the finish. At the third steep, the tea softened and gave a rush of wildflowers that lingered on the tongue. The tea faded in the last 2 steeps but still had good flavor. An enjoyable tea, but I’ve been so spoiled by drinking so many great baozhongs that this one just doesn’t excite my taste buds much.
It’s been an exhausting week and a half. I’ve been busy cramming for a certification exam that I should have started studying for 3 months ago except life and summer got in the way. In the process, I’ve gone through a lot of different teas to help fuel my long study sessions.
This is the first dong ding I’ve had in a long while. Normally I am not a fan of dark oolongs with the exception of fruity dan congs and some yanchas. When I bought this, I misread the description and thought it was a light roast. Turns out that although this tea has an assertive roast, it was anything but charcoal-like. Out of the bag, the aroma was very mouthwatering. I smelled roasted nuts, baked bread, flowers, a little spice and a hint of hazelnut. After a rinse, the aroma became s’mores like. First steep greeted me with toasted nuts and a little char. The second steep was a green/dark hybrid with baked and floral tones. The roastiness softens by the 5th steep and I get pleasant spice notes. When grandpa steeped, it’s smooth and warm. Starts off woodsy and popcorn like before turning into a nice graham cracker taste.
True to its name, this tea has a fantastic aroma and excellent flavor. The fact that it grandpa steeps so well is an added bonus because it’s another tea I can throw in my tumbler for work or while studying.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Flowers, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Roast Nuts, Wood
This was a marvelous Li shan and one of the better jade oolongs I’ve had in a while. The scent of the leaves is a real treat for the nose. The aroma is an intoxicating mix of hyacinth, daffodils, wild flowers, and melon. I kept smelling the gaiwan over and over again to take in all the loveliness. The brewed tea is a juicy, flowery nectar with notes of orchid, sweet pea, apricot, and jasmine. Later on, it settled into a nice sugarcane sweetness, some vegetal tones but still remained lush and floral. I steeped this about 7-8 times and it definitely could have been pushed further.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Garden Peas, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Sugarcane
I should have written down the notes the one time I gong fu’d it. The other two times were more improvised, and today, I started off with 30 sec, then 45, but then 3 minutes on accident. The third steep was super thick and viscous, but smooth and salvageable. I felt like I was drinking an apple covered by an excess amount of cool whip. I continued to play drink this one and enjoy my sessions for the sake of enjoying sipping my tea. Western might not be a bad route given this bad boy’s resilience. I actually preferred this one over the aristocratic Tian Chi. Unfortunately, I’ve used my acumen while salivating for this tea, so I am not going into all of the nuances of the first, mid, and finishing tastes. I’ll just say this is a good frickin’ tea that you can do almost anything with, and deserves a little bit of roughness and tenderness when brewing. All it needs is love.
I deeply enjoyed this one last night and this morning, for it lasted me eleven brews gong fu. Unfortunately, I was not super precise in how I drank it, so I am not going to be as descriptive as usual. I started off precise, and then I improvised the rest of it. It was immensely thick, viscous, fresh, floral and fruity. There were some definite honey, lemongrass, apple, lilac, blossom, and other green notes. I actually got something that resembled watermelon later on…weird. Expensive, but very durable. You always know that you have an awesome quality tea if it tastes good despite the abuse you put it through.
I finished it off and got some evergreen notes that I’d typically get from a Bi Lo Chun or Dragon well. Beads of sweat dripped from my forehead as my chest warmed. My fingers wiggled as my neck and abdomen tensed. I don’t know if that was from the sheer heat of the tea or the after burn of an intense workout, or if I was getting a tea drunk buzz. Nevertheless, the tea was floral and alpine.
I finally got to try the tea regarded as the Taiwanese president’s choice of oolong, so I took care to follow the directions carefully, and treat this tea with well time respect. I actually took written notes for this one.
So here it went:
Water just under boiling, 6 grams to my Manual Tea Infuser of 5 oz, or 125 ml.
20 sec initial rinse
Not too much in the aroma, distant florals. The taste is nice, having something like rice milk in flavor and creamy texture with a little of greenness to it. The pectin maybe? Otherwise, some florals coming up like honeysuckle and perhaps hyacinth.
The leaves themselves had a ripe fruit smell like pineapple before I refilled the vessel with hotwater. It had me looking forward to the future.
Lilac smell, not too much taste, so I let it cool down. Tasting after letting it sit for a little bit, intense CREAM notes, lilac, lime hint, maybe something like cucumber, and a clementine finish with a lovely and silky mouthfeel.
More cool down made the tea a little softer.
20 sec brew
Fuller flavor with a sweet lilac smell almost bordering on lavender. This steep had a bit of an fresh evergreen note with a long lasting floral finish as well. The leaves definitely opened up this time, and as it cooled down, more fruity notes popped up. It was something between pineapple and asian pear, but it was not nearly as ripe as before. It was almost like a pineapple that was a hair to young to cut, almost white in color. More cucumber flavor and texture in the cool down.
Before brewing, the leaves had an asparagus like smell.
25 second brew
Great nuanced aroma, more lilac, and an almost breeze like presence through evergreen forests before the ocean. The flavor was sweet touching on brown sugar, but more like agave. There was a floral explosion of lilac, lavender, hyacinth, and honeysuckle. I’m surprised I did not taste osmanthus.
25 sec again
The last steep was a little heavier than I wanted, so I went with a lighter approach. It was still generally the same: creamy, floral, lime, cucumber in that order.
30 second brew
Pine, more fruit notes like honeydew and light coconut milk in the texture. A little bit more nectary.
The next three more brews were pretty much the same in flavor edging on a fruitier profile towards the last steep. I got a fuller body of flavor giving me some magnolia finally, and something milky like iris. It was unctuous overall, and the last few brews were quite sweet and surprisingly my favorite.
I was going to make this my 1000th note, but I was a little disappointed with this one despite its longevity and rich mouthfeel. It was without a doubt an excellent tea with host of nuances, but I paid nearly a dollar per gram for this tea and would have liked a more forward flavor. This might change the next and perhaps last time I drink it, but I was expecting more power with the same sophistication I got since I’ve had other Lishans that were just as finessed and flavorful for cheaper. I know I am being brutal to an exceptional tea, but I’ve had better. Perhaps I do not appreciate this tea as much because it is more subtle. I do, however, still recommend it. I got this tea for the sake of experiencing it, and I am glad that I did it once, and I also know that this tea could have been much more expensive anyway.
I had the opportunity to try this one in a new drinking vessel, a lovely easy clay gaiwan my Aunt sent. I was able to isolate the flavors of this Cuifeng because of it, and enjoyed this tea all the better. I think that the vessel is super small, not exceeding three ounces, perhaps less. I just used enough leaves to fill it up.
So breaking it up, I brewed this starting off with 20 sec. Not to much except coriander and sugarcane, albeit sweet and crystalline. Next was fifteen, and immensely sweet. Brown sugar, lilac, more coriander. Third was 20, and immense lilac and lavender. Four was as lovely as three, being creamier and more lavender like. Five was surprising: cedar. Yes, cedar or something spruce like and sugarcane. Six at 40 sec cucumber, and something vaguely fruity, and hyacinth. Seven-no idea, maybe 50 sec, osmanthus. Eight-one minute or more-rose. Nine- I do not know other than green oolong or cucumber, maybe mineral. A bit of a minty mouthfeel at the back of my throat. Lovely either way. Ten after five minutes: custard, but then mineral water with florals, nutmeg, and lemon hints.
The tea is still going, and it is my favorite of my Tillerman order. This is the owners favorite, and hopefully the power of suggestion is not a cause of my preference. I am going to try the others in this vessel to see how they do in my vessel. Hopefully, I’ll be able to isolate the individual flavors as I did with this one for them. I did not get the “spice” that the owner describes, but the spruce note was awesome. It is a little pricey, but not bad for a good quality Li Shan. A part of me preferred this one to the other Li Shan, nevermind that one is more fruity overall.
This is a very easy drinker, and something that I can see experienced drinkers and newer drinkers enjoying.