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Gongfu Sipdown (1709)!
Thank you Togo for this sample!
The aroma coming off the leaves after the initial couple steeps was heavy charcoal and roast with a herbaceous pungency that really reminded me of dill. However, the steeped tea itself has a lot more of a mouthwatering juicy floral quality that really stands out among the other tasting notes. Very, very lychee forward. Of course, it’s still pretty roasted with a lot of those charcoal, woody, and heavily roasted chicory root type notes – but it’s just much more dynamic and nuanced overall, and with no dill! Though I love a nice, roasty oolong I have to admit that notes of chicory are not something I usually enjoy because they’re usually coupled with a sharp top note sourness, but I only got that in one or two steeps of this tea session and the lovely sweetness of the lychee more than made up for it!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfEeJoTOMXQ/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWmJbtJsx_w
Thank you leafhopper!
Quickie note. I was more into this one than I expected. It’s very woody and heavy on the sweet potato / yam side, but super pleasant in smell and taste. It’s on the cedar, incense, sandalwood spectrum with a little bit of cooling effect in the aftertaste bordering on rosy. The smell is deeply floral like Geranium and Roses. Super comforting. It didn’t change much steep to steep gong fu, but I have some left over to play with. I very much enjoyed it, and actually liked it more than some other Wuyi teas that are more overpowering.
Flavors: Cedar, Floral, Geranium, Incense, Malt, Resin, Rose, Sandalwood, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin
Wuyi Origin released this “benefit tea” to provide a lower-cost option during the pandemic, and I applaud them for their thoughtfulness. What’s more, it’s actually a tea people would want to drink! I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
I’ve had this tea several times and still have trouble pinning down the tastes and aromas. The dry leaf smells like squash, sweet potato, cherry, malt, and wood. The first steep has notes of carrot, pumpkin, tart cherry, grass, malt, maple syrup, tannins, and wood, and has a silky texture. The second steep adds gooseberry, cream, sugarcane, and hints of sweet potato. The next couple steeps have more wood and malt, though they still have very vegetal notes of carrot, pumpkin, and sweet potato. The next couple steeps are more tannic and have notes of lettuce along with the orange veggies. The final steeps have notes of malt, tannins, wood, minerals, and roasted veggies.
This tea reminded me in a good way of the most affordable grade of Wuyi Origin’s 2020 Lapsang Souchong. Unlike the Sweet Potato Zhen Shan Xiao Zhong that I had recently, its sweetness was balanced and it had more complex flavours. I’d say it punches well above its price tag of $10 for 50 g.
Flavors: Carrot, Cherry, Cream, Gooseberry, Grass, Lettuce, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Pumpkin, Roasted, Silky, Squash, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Tannic, Tart, Vegetal, Wood
I waited to drink this one because I could not remember if I really liked it, or was meh. Doing it again, I really liked it. Describing it is going to be hard. Butter, sweet potato, starch, regular potato, malt, wheat, florals, caramel hints, rose hints, etc. is in it. Unlike the other teas, the first steep was nutty after about 30 seconds approaching almond. There are prominent florals, and while I have seen some reviews on the Wuyi website describe rose, I keep on getting hit with geranium instead in every cup. There are times where it approaches chamomile or buckwheat (I know, those were descriptions for other teas I’m using for this one), and then it goes back into the geranium ending in a sweet dry bread-sy finish.
The later brews are just as floral. Not loud or obvious while layering it. Oddly enough, I found the other teas more floral than this one. This tea actually had more dimension. I’m not sure I’d reach for this one again, though I do think it’s good quality and recommend it for people wanting something different.
Flavors: Almond, Bread, Butter, Chamomile, Drying, Floral, Geranium, Potato, Savory, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes
I liked this one more than the Meizhan, but it was also pretty similar in profile in its subtlety. The leaves are gorgeous and uniform, yet not as fruity as I’d think. It’s got nice malt, texture, aroma, and great viscosity, though the flavor slowly develops. I’m writing the adjective ’honeysuckle" again, though the fruitiness is a lot more like a subtle apple and feels more floral than actually fruity for my palette. It gets more fruity after steep three and starts to taste a little bit like appleskin, maybe apple juice.
My parameters were gong fu twice and I used between 3-4 oz of water per 5 grams, starting maybe around 30 seconds and went by that in increments. After a while, the tea just got generally malty and savory. I likely am underappreciating this one, so here it goes: I think it’s good, but I prefer the Honey Style because this one was a little subtle for me.
Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Butter, Floral, Honeysuckle, Malt, Savory
I tried this twice-once as tumbler fuel, and the next time in a quick gong fu session from my Jin Jun Mei sampler.
I was honestly not as impressed with the sampler overall. All of the teas were pretty subtle, and the Honey Style was my favorite. This one was surprisingly the least straight forward, and heavily resembled the Wild Jin Jun Mei from What-Cha. Extremely buttery, light, and floral headed by honeysuckle, textured by savory sweet potato, with some caramel/brown sugar hints here and there. There wasn’t more than that otherwise. No astringency or bitterness, and while it was complex, it lacked malt and some qualities that I hope for in a Jin Jun Mei. Combining all the fancy pretentious notes together, I could also describe this tasting like summer squash, and that’s it.
I do think this was a quality tea, and it’s exceptional if you are looking for something that doesn’t get bitter-I was just hoping for more considering the price tag and varietal. Since it was Meizhan, I hoped there would be some redder fruit notes like plum or cherry. Alas, honeysuckle it is.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Floral, Honeysuckle, Savory, Squash, Sweet Potatoes
Whenever a vendor offers a black Dancong, it ends up in my cart. This one is from spring 2019. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of honey, malt, hay, orchids, apricot, plum, and other flowers. Togo noticed olives, which I can also detect now. The leaves were so long and spindly that I had trouble getting some of them into the pot. The first steep is very soft, with milder than expected notes of honey, malt, cereal, orchid, apricot, hay, sugarcane, wood, and zucchini. Raisins, plums, and cherries make an appearance in steep two, and the tea is a little more floral, though still very vegetal and woody for a black Dancong. The florality increases in the next couple steeps, though the tea is still more sweet and vegetal than fruity, with a drying sensation in the mouth and an aftertaste similar to sugarcane. There are hints of apricot and caramel in steeps four to six, along with lots of honey and tannins. Letting the tea cool, as I did accidentally on the sixth steep, brings out the apricot more strongly. Apricot, cream, honey, and malt are even more present in the next couple long steeps. The session ends with honey, malt, tannins, wood, and lingering stonefruit sweetness.
Unlike most teas, which flatten out after the first few steeps, this one became more fruity and pleasant as the session progressed. It is unassuming for a black Dancong and it was hard to pin down some of the flavours, probably due to it being stored for so long in my tea museum. In the three sessions I’ve had with this tea, using more leaf brought out the fruity notes, while using less leaf highlighted the florals. I tend to prefer more fruit-forward black Dancongs, but I’ll have no trouble finishing this tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Drying, Floral, Grain, Hay, Honey, Malt, Olives, Orchid, Plum, Raisins, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tannin, Vegetal, Wood, Zucchini
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
Smoky and minerally yancha, heavy on the cooked fruit aspects. I personally get some plum and red/purple fruits, and the roast borders on cocoa on occasion. I’m enjoying the oz I have. More to come, and better gong fu so far.
Flavors: Charcoal, Cocoa, Fruity, Mineral, Plum, Roasted, Stonefruit, Wet Rocks
I finished this one months ago, and procrastinated the other samples. I loved it in my tumbler. Honey developed more slowly, though everything else was straightforward. Malt, chocolate,caramel, rose, butter, yams, wheat, and some other things going on between starchy and floral. I really liked it, and I wonder if Alistair has the same source.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Rose, Wheat, Yams
I’ve had this for a while with the sampler. Good gong fu, and great tumbler style. Chocolaty cocoa and layered with rose, bread, butter, prominent and dominating sweat potato, yams, and other savory sweet qualities I’d almost add cinnamon too. Pretty similar to what I’ve gotten from What-Cha, and very pretty to look at. Not quite sure I got honey in the notes, and it was actually sweeter grandpa/tumbler style more than gong fu. I’ll come back. AGAIN.
Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cocoa, Malt, Rose, Savory, Squash, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Yams
Gongfu Sipdown (1459)!
Thank you Togo for this sample! I don’t drink a ton of dancong in general, but when I do I tend to really prefer ones like this that have such sweet and syrupy notes of lychee and plums. The later steeps seemed to pick up in terms of roastedness as well, almost giving the affect of a grilled lychee! I didn’t take great notes while having this session so much of the nuance has been lost, but know that I really enjoyed the deeper character of this tea and over the course of the several steeps I brewed it was very lovely! In fact, it’s probably almost a good sign that there weren’t a ton of things that stood out about it to me.
I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last Friday and I couldn’t be happier. The only side effect I had was a mildly sore arm. This is one tiny step toward having a normal life again!
This is Wuyi Origin’s most affordable Lapsang, made as I understand from another farmer’s leaves on the border of Fujian and Jiangxi. It’s the spring 2020 harvest. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of baked bread, caramel, wood, sweet potato, and anise. The first steep has notes of sweet potato, caramel, honey, wood, baked bread, malt, and anise. Citrus and some astringency emerge in the second steep, and I get a nice sweet potato/bready aftertaste. The third and fourth steeps are more woody with some hay, black pepper, brown sugar, and tobacco notes, although the sweet potato/bread/citrus is still going strong. The next couple steeps are less sweet with more woody and mineral notes, with a lot of baked sweet potato in the aftertaste. The tea has a nice, viscous body, even though the progression of flavours from steep to steep isn’t too dynamic. The next few steeps become more tannic and astringent, though there’s still plenty of sweet potato and caramel. The session ends with faint sweet potato, malt, tannins, and minerals.
If I hadn’t tried Wuyi Origin’s Old Bush Lapsang Souchong, I’m sure I would have been more impressed with this tea. As it is, it’s less complex and full bodied than the OBLS. However, it’s quite pleasant and I’ve almost finished my 25 g pouch.
Flavors: Anise, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Citrus, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Sweet Potatoes, Tannic, Tobacco, Wood
I’ve wanted to try Wuyi Origin for a while, and a free shipping offer a couple weeks before Black Friday 2020 was the perfect excuse. I picked up three Dan Congs, three Lapsang Souchongs, a black Dan Cong, and two Wuyi rock teas (as I wanted to try some higher-quality versions before giving up on the style entirely). This was the most expensive Lapsang in my cart, and I remember buying it because the description mentioned it was fruity. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot in boiling water for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of sweet potatoes, gooseberries, honey, wood, and malt. The first steep has notes of gooseberries, sweet potatoes, honey, maple syrup, malt, baked bread, oakwood, and florals. Although the dry aroma wasn’t that promising, I can immediately tell that I like this. The next steep adds zucchini, more wood, orchid, and pine. The third steep becomes more fruity, with lemon and strawberry accents and a vegetal and grassy backbone that lingers in the aftertaste. The fruit lasts until the fifth steep, when the tea once again becomes dominated by sweet potato, maple syrup, oak, malt, and honey. This continues well into steep ten, when earth and mineral notes emerge. The tea remains sweet until the end of the session.
I love the combination of oddball flavours in this tea, as well as its thick body, good longevity, and persistent aftertaste. I can tell this is a high-quality Lapsang Souchong. I wish the fruit had lasted longer, though. I look forward to comparing it to the other two Lapsangs I ordered from this company.
Flavors: Berries, Bread, Earth, Floral, Grass, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Oak, Orchid, Pine, Strawberry, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Vegetal, Zucchini
Only three teas or so left from the Swap Box.
Again, stoked about a Wuyi Origin Tea. This note will be shorter since I decided to test it out in my Phoenix Spirit Tea Tumbler, which was an early birthday gift. I know it’s a risk to grandpa a dancong, but I divided up my sample so I’d have just enough for a smaller vessel gong fu….don’t get me started on the teaware I have that is incomplete because a cup or a piece of it was broken in some divine accident.
This dancong actually took quite a bit of time to fully diffuse, starting off floral and lightly fruity-like honey and lemon in fresh hot water. The fruits further developed 8 minutes in, going back and forth between a floral orchid to honey, apple, apple juice, nectarine, and guava. Despite writing “lemon” in the beginning of this paragraph, this tea grandpa is not as citrusy as other Dancongs I’ve had, and I haven’t gotten the usual lychee note, though I may gong fu. There are some roasted nuts in the profile and some acidity, but it’s a heck of a lot smoother. It must be the 12 oz to 3 grams ratio.
I’ve gotten 3 brews of it so far, the first one having the most change and diversity in the notes. The other two are fruitier and a woodsier orchid, but still sweet and honeyed leaning more into apple as far as fruit goes, with some tartness or flavor acidity you get in things like peppers. There’s a little bit of “moss covered earth” rocks, and mineral for me, but it could be due to steeping in the vessel long. It’s super light and likely superfluous, yet I don’t see a lot of people getting it as a note for themselves. I think it’s my imagination popping images from my other senses, and I could just use "wet rocks "that’s already in the pre-set notes for steepster.
Overall, this one is very easy going and very mellow. Astringency or bitterness never showed up. I’ve seldom had a Dancong that works this well as tumbler fuel, though it could be because I lowered the ratio. I’m satisfied either way and very pleased. Not sure what to rate it, so I’ll wait until I gong fu it.
Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Guava, Honey, Mineral, Nectar, Nutty, Orchid, Roasted Nuts, Wet Rocks, Wet wood, Wood
One of the top teas I was looking to from our trade!
I’ve only had Wuyi Origin a few times, and always miss out on the season of teas I like from it due to indecision with shipping and which tea to pick. Most of the Wuyi Origin Teas I’ve had were from swaps, though I have a feeling that some of the black teas I’ve had from Trident were Wuyi origin teas.
First off, the dry leaf gave me some deeply woody impressions of maple and oak treas, and deep savory qualities of freshly baked crescent rolls. Testing it out after 10ish seconds, the flavor combo was awesome. Transitions were from floral, to oak, to maple, and then some lemon rind thrown just before the finish as it returns to malty and bordering breadsy. Second steep was 4 seconds longer, close to 14 sec, and the same flavors continued but with a really nice malty quality, being mostly savory and sweet. They pegged potato, which I can taste a little off like yams or sweet potato.
It inspired me to cook some maple miso teriyaki tempeh slices. It complimented the third brew of the tea so well, with some of the malt notes matching the weird salty sweet savory white miso and the dark maple I added in the sauce. As for the steep, it’s got a interesting minty finish after the floral oak, malt, pine in that order.
I ran out of drinking water, so I lessened the serving to 2.5 oz and released after 20 sec, and have yet to exceed that amount in brew five. I could have let it steep longer, but it was still rich. The oak and pine were heavy, bordering on resin or tree sap,. This tea reminds me a lot of the Floral Lapsang I had from Trident, which of course was more floral than what I’m drinking as the malt is heavier in what I’m currently drinking.
I’m going to push out more of this tea, but I’m really digging the malt and tree combo. I get picky with woodsy notes, but this one has such a nice combo between the florals, mint, and lemon rind notes that makes it really nice. Looks like I’m going to have to get more Wuyi in the future.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lemon Zest, Malt, Maple, Maple Syrup, Mint, Oak, Pine, Resin, Sap, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
[Spring 2019 harvest]
I am not a big fan of Yancha, but I made an order of some decent grade ones from Wuyi Origin some time ago. One reason was to see whether I just don’t like “cheap rock oolongs” and also to understand the category better.
This particular tea didn’t wow me overall, but I have to say it has pretty spectacular aromatics, especially now that the roast has calmed down. Many of the aromas were muddled when I drank it last year. Specifically, dry leaves smell of cherries, rose flowers and sweet wood at first, with some additional notes of ripe bananas, tropical rainforest and limestone in a preheated gaiwan. The wet leaf aroma has a lot of depth and pungency with notes such as hibiscus, peat and chard.
Some of these are quite present in the liquor itself too, notably the flowery and woody ones. Its texture is buttery and metallic, while the taste is bitter and fruity with hints of cranberry, red wine and oak, among others. I found the cha qi to be nice and mellow with a focusing quality to it.
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h7jfUUSj3M
Flavors: banana, Bitter, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Cranberry, Flowers, Fruity, Hibiscus, Metallic, Oak, Peat, Rainforest, Red Wine, Rose, Sweet, Wood
I love the aromatics of this yancha, but the rest of the experience is a bit lacking. I still like it quite a bit though, and one should take into account that I am not really a fan of rock oolongs. Aggressive brewing helps to bring out its pungency and complexity, so I would recommend opting for higher leaf amount rather than the opposite. It is quite an energizing tea, good when you want to do stuff.
Dry leaves have an invigorating aroma of tamarind, red wine, cherries, and wood. During the session, there is a distinct and pungent rose scent present, as well as hint of cranberry and gingerbread brownies.
First infusion is biting and woody with notes of malt, straw and brown sugar. It has a soft yet thick texture. The finish and aftertaste display a fairly well-developed cinnamon note as well, including its mild spiciness. Later on, the profile is mineral, sweet and bitter with a vegetal touch. There are flavours of stonefruit pits, nectarines and avocado, among others.
Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar, Cake, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Malt, Mineral, Nectarine, Red Wine, Rose, Spicy, Stonefruit, Straw, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal, Wood
This tea is like a good MLX with heightened woody notes. It has a very perfumy aroma with hints of apricot pits and olives before the rinse. Afterwards, I get a sweet, woody and floral aroma, reminiscent of apricot jam, muscat grape and rhododendrons.
The taste is again of similar character, followed by a mildly sour and fairly drying and cooling aftertaste. There is a unique mint flower fragrance and after a while, a fruity sweetness emerges too. If pushed, the bitterness that we know from a classic MLX also appears, but otherwise it’s fairly muted.
Liquor has a full body with a soft and a little powdery mouthfeel. The body effects mostly show up as an intense chest warming sensation as well as a very mild and pleasant high. It’s more of an attention-channeling rather than focus-dissolving tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Flowers, Fruity, Jam, Mint, Nutty, Olives, Perfume, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Thick, Wood
On the surface, this particular dan cong oolong doesn’t seem all that remarkable. It doesn’t have a spectacular tropical or floral aroma, or the fascinating bitter qualities of a nice yashixiang or juduozai. I really, really like it though.
It’s just… nice. Thick, warm, mellow and sweet, a perfect dan cong for winter.
It’s still unmistakably a dan cong though; there’s quite a bit of bitterness and some astringency in there, but it’s much more gentle in those characteristics than most others. It passes the “mom/tea newbie test”, I’ve tested it (everyone likes this tea).
The tropical fruit flavors aren’t as bright and clearly defined as in some other dan cong (“peach! mango! lichi!”), but they’re obviously there. At center stage however is thick honey sweetness, sugarcane, hay and a perfectly balanced touch of charcoal that’s the cherry on the cake. I’m usually not a big fan of charcoal, but it really ties everything together here. In some steeps I also noticed ripe, sweet orange and peach.
At its best gong fu style, but western and grampa steeping works too. I experimented a bit, and this also turned out surprisingly well: 250ml glass teapot, 4g tea, steeped overnight in room temperature water. Served in little cups or glasses it’s perfect with a chocolate dessert.
At ~€0.30/g it’s not exactly what I would consider cheap tea but I honestly think you get quite a bit of value for your money. Good dan cong just isn’t cheap and this is a pretty good dan cong. It’s also currently the most affordable one they sell on Wuyi Origin.
The following might be relevant for people with a sensitive stomach (like me): I love dan congs, my stomach does not. This one seems to be fine though.
Flavors: Alcohol, Hay, Honey, Smoke, Sugarcane, Tropical
A simple (unsmoked) lapsang souchong, done well.
This lapsang doesn’t feature a lot of fancy fruity or floral accents, but instead focuses entirely on that characteristic base lapsang souchong flavor.
Taste is strong but balanced. The bitterness in particular is very pleasant, balanced by subtle sweet notes and a hint of refreshing citrus and cardamom on top. Earlier steeps are dark and comfortable with notes of hay and beans, later steeps get lighter and show a bit of plum.
Some astringency is always present but it stays in the background.
I really enjoyed this one gong fu style. The leaves pack a punch, in one session I did 14 steeps and could’ve gotten a few more out of it. Western style steeping tends to make a more boring, one note brew in my experience, so it doesn’t seem like very versatile tea.
The price is very fair I think, one of the cheaper teas on WuyiOrigin. If you like lapsang souchong, I would recommend it.
Flavors: Beany, Cardamom, Citrus, Honey, Plum, Wood
[Spring 2019 harvest]
This might just be my favourite yancha to date, says me who dislikes picking favourites. It just hits all the right spots and it’s not one of the super expensive ones either. It has a wonderfully complex and balanced profile, long-lasting expansive aftertaste and an engaging mouthfeel.
The aromas are pungent and perfumy all in all. At first, in the preheated gaiwan, I get a comforting scent of cranberries and wood. During the session, there is a strong beetroot aroma complemented by a touch of soil, truffle and cookies. On the whole, it becomes quite sweet and only a little earthy in spite of the descriptors.
Already the first steep is pungent and full bodied. It has a sweet and mineral profile, which is to be expected of course. But there is much more to it. The texture is smooth and bubbly. I find the liquor to be quite light in the mouth in terms of its weight, despite its very active presence and good thickness.
The second infusion is smooth and biting at the same time. There is a good balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Particular notes include char, rose, and dried dates. The aftertaste is numbing and with a more vegetal and floral profile. There are notes of butter, dandelion, nutmeg, sugarcane and a kind warming mint (as opposed to the more usual cooling mint sensation).
Third steep has a strong yanyun a floral, almost quinine-like bitterness, which transforms into sweetness very fast. There are flavours of bread crust, custard and wood.
The qi is somewhat subtle, but quite noticeable if I pay attention. I like how the tea brings my focus to the present. Because of its non-aggressive nature, it can be drunk in a variety of settings.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Bread, Butter, Char, Cookie, Cranberry, Custard, Dandelion, Dates, Earth, Floral, Mineral, Mint, Nutmeg, Perfume, Rose, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks, Wood
Wuyi Origin’s MLX is more bitter and woody than average I’d say. It’s really nice, one of the most memorable things about it is the very sweet and long-lasting aftertaste.
When dry, the aroma is fairly standard, but also very pungent. You get stone fruits, honey, pumpkin seeds mix there. The tea remain fragrant throughout the session, with notes like vanilla, green pepper, and flax flowers present in the wet leaf aroma.
The mouth-watering liquor is juicy and has a vegetal bite to it. There is a quinine-like bitterness as well as mild woody sweetness. At times, I also get a peppermint note in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is generally warming, bubbly and a little chalky, while the cha qi is of the sedating/defocusing kind.
Flavors: Bitter, Flowers, Green Pepper, Honey, Peppermint, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood
Despite its fame, I haven’t had many ya shi xiang oolongs to date. This one is amazing though! It has a very sweet, bitter and mineral character, which is hard to pin down exactly. The aftertaste is very attention seeking without being overpowering in any way. It feels like it should be well-defined, yet I am unable to find the right associations to describe it.
Likewise, the aromas are very complex and elusive. Some of the notes I noticed in the dry leaf aroma include caramel, cream, and honeysuckle. After the rinse, the smell is sweet, floral with milky and vegetal undertones. Additionally, there are also hints of fish and bread.
Similarly, I also noted a mild yeasty flavour in the taste, especially in the finish. Another interesting flavour that kept reappearing is that of white currants. Overall though, as I already mentioned, it is a sweetness dominated tea with just a bit of floral notes that nevertheless intensify over time. Aftertaste is again very sweet – a bit like brown sugar – as well as mineral. Fennel and butter are among the new flavours that emerge after swallowing.
As seems to be the theme with this one, the mouthfeel is also hard to describe. At first, the liquor is both soft and chalky, and rolls around the mouth very easily. It gets pretty thick and cooling in the middle of the session too. I’d describe it as active yet elegant overall. The cha qi is warming and very pleasant; and one can get a lot of tea from these leaves in the course of one session.
Flavors: Berries, Bitter, Black Currant, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cream, Fennel, Fishy, Floral, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal, Yeast