943 Tasting Notes

86

I’m dipping a little further into my backlog of tea reviews with this posting. I only had a 10g sample pouch of this tea to play around with, and I think I finished it sometime during the first half of September. I loved the spring 2017 version of this tea, so I had high hopes for this production. While it did not strike me as being quite as good as the previous year’s offering, this was still a very good Dancong oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, cherry, black raspberry, wood, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of orchid, spinach, roasted almond, cannabis, and geranium. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted peanut, grass, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, spinach, butter, cream, wood, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of roasted almond, sugarcane, cherry, pomegranate, orchid, cinnamon, geranium, spinach, and cannabis. The bulk of the subsequent infusions brought out aromas of coriander, baked bread, vanilla, sour plum, lychee, green apple, pear, and earth. Stronger and more immediately notable flavors of roasted almond, cherry, pomegranate, geranium, and orchid appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of orange zest, baked bread, coriander, minerals, vanilla, sour plum, green apple, pear, cattail shoots, and lychee. Subtle hints of earth and black raspberry could also be found in places. As the tea faded, the liquor shifted and emphasized notes of minerals, cream, butter, roasted almond, pear, orange zest, wood, and roasted peanut that were balanced by lingering hints of baked bread, spinach, grass, sour plum, lychee, orchid, geranium, and earth.

As mentioned above, this was a very nice Dancong oolong. Much like the spring 2017 Old Tree Shui Xian from Feng Xi, it displayed a very unique and appealing mix of aromas and flavors. Compared to many other Dancong oolongs (which are also produced from the Shui Xian cultivar or hybrids thereof), these Feng Xi teas seem to consistently show off the aromas and flavors one would typically expect of a classic Shui Xian oolong.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cannabis, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Geranium, Grass, Green Apple, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Raspberry, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
tea-sipper

Cattail shoots? Are those edible?!?

eastkyteaguy

Yes, they are edible. They have to be cleaned very thoroughly before eating, but you can cook them just like asparagus. Some people even eat them raw. They taste a bit like cucumber. If you harvest them in the wild, you must be very careful, though, as irises can easily be mistaken for cattails.

tea-sipper

Oh wow – no idea. haha

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84

It’s time to take a brief break from reviewing black teas. I have been so focused on posting reviews of all the black teas I have been drinking that I have been almost completely ignoring all of the other reviews I have allowed to pile up over the last year. This was one of my sipdowns from the second half of September. I normally enjoy Yunnan Sourcing’s Ling Tou Village “Bai Ye” every year, and this tea did not buck that trend, though it did strike me as being a little less enjoyable than the 2016 and 2017 offerings.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cherry, pine, candied pomelo, orchid, and pomegranate. After the rinse, I detected aromas of peach, lotus, orange blossom, honey, and apricot. The first infusion brought out aromas of roasted almond, butter, cream, and grass as well as subtle cannabis and spinach scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cherry, orchid, cream, butter, roasted almond, and grass that were chased by hints of pine, nectarine, peach, apricot, cannabis, spinach, and orange blossom. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of coriander, vanilla, and green bell pepper. Lotus and honey notes appeared in the mouth as well as stronger and more immediately notable flavors of orange blossom, peach, nectarine, and apricot. I also detected notes of minerals, green bell pepper, grass, green apple, unripened pear, vanilla, orange zest, white grape, and green wood. Hints of pomegranate, candied pomelo, coriander, and earth could also be detected here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, cream, butter, green wood, roasted almond, grass, and green bell pepper that were supported by delicate, fleeting notes of orange blossom, orange zest, earth, vanilla, unripened pear, green apple, orchid, lotus, and white grape.

This was a very aromatic and flavorful tea with tons of fruity characteristics. Normally, I love Dancong oolongs that are very fruity and/or very floral, but there were instances where this tea’s mix of aroma and flavor components struck me as being a bit over-the-top. Still, this was a very good tea. People who tend to flip over sweeter, fruitier teas would probably love it.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Candy, Cannabis, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Green Wood, Honey, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pine, Spinach, Stonefruit, Vanilla, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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89

Okay, here is my final review of the day. I was planning on posting a couple more, but I just do not have the stamina or focus to type more of these things this evening. This was my next to last sipdown of October, and it was also a tea that I totally forgot I had. I stumbled upon the unopened 50g pouch of it while cleaning out my tea hoard late in the month and tore into it immediately in order to finish it while it was still drinkable. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried because this tea had aged incredibly gracefully. It actually struck me as being a bit better and more interesting than the spring productions I had previously tried, and that was surprising too, because I have almost always preferred the spring productions of Yunnan black teas over the autumn productions.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cedar, pine, raisin, malt, baked bread, and tobacco. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut that were accompanied by much subtler scents of grass, chocolate, and banana. The first infusion introduced aromas of cinnamon and black pepper as well as a subtle camphor scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of tobacco, cream, malt, cedar, pine, and geranium that were balanced by hints of grass, roasted almond, roasted peanut, honey, baked bread, raisin, pear, and chocolate. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of honey, pear, red apple, plum, orange zest, roasted hazelnut, roasted walnut, camphor, and geranium. Stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of raisin, roasted almond, pear, baked bread, and honey appeared in the mouth along with notes of minerals, butter, earth, roasted walnut, roasted hazelnut, red apple, plum, lemon, camphor, and orange zest. There were also some hints of cinnamon, black pepper, banana, and marshmallow here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, earth, baked bread, tobacco, roasted almond, lemon, cedar, and orange zest that were chased by lingering hints of roasted peanut, pine, roasted walnut, camphor, cinnamon, red apple, raisin, pear, and honey.

Overall, this was a very rich yet drinkable Mengku black tea with a ton of character. Fans of teas that display a lot of nutty, fruity, and herbal aromas and flavors would find a ton to like in this tea. I should also once again note that this tea had held up extremely well in storage, proving that it was suitable for longer term aging/resting. I’m glad I picked this one up when I had the opportunity.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Hazelnut, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Red Apple, Tobacco, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

Okay, I’m finally getting back on here after more than a week away from writing. The new schedule is still killing me, but I suppose I am slowly adapting to it. Aside from still being in the process of adjusting to my new work schedule, I am also still plowing my way through a number of spring 2018 black teas. This was one of my sipdowns from the second half of last month. I found it to be a very good offering overall. It actually struck me as being a little bit better than the rock solid spring 2017 Big Snow Mountain of Mengku Black Tea that I tried last year.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, raisin, plum, honey, and black raspberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, malt, black pepper, banana, and pine. The first infusion introduced a subtle eucalyptus scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, baked bread, malt, roasted almond, cocoa, roasted peanut, cinnamon, and pine that were balanced by hints of raisin, plum, pear, cedar, honey, black raspberry, and banana. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of cocoa, cedar, cream, butter, pear, red apple, orange zest, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of cedar, raisin, banana, pear, and plum appeared in the mouth alongside mineral, eucalyptus, black pepper, red apple, sweet potato, earth, butter, orange zest, and caramel notes. I also picked up on hints of leather, lemon zest, and roasted walnut. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, cream, baked bread, butter, roasted almond, and roasted peanut that were chased by fleeting hints of pine, honey, caramel, sweet potato, raisin, orange zest, and cocoa.

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, this was a rock solid Mengku black tea. I particularly appreciated its fruity characteristics, and compared to the previous version of this tea, this offering produced a liquor that displayed better and more consistent body and texture in the mouth. Even though this tea fell just shy of excellence for me, it was still very good. It was definitely one of the better Mengku black teas I have tried.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Leather, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Raspberry, Red Apple, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Courtney

It’s always nice to get back into a routine. This tea sounds tasty! I’ve not prepared anything gonfu style before, but the flavours that you taste sound amazing!

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90

This is probably going to be the last review I will post today since I am running short on time. I am still limited to only using the business office’s computer on which to do my writing, and it seems that I can now no longer make it into town without my parents giving me errands to run for them. Getting back on track here, this was another of my more recent sipdowns, as I finished my 50g pouch of this tea early last week. The Traditional Process Dian Hong is another of Yunnan Sourcing’s regular offerings that never seems to disappoint me, and this tea did not buck that trend. As a matter of fact, it did not even come close to bucking that trend.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 sconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of malt, honey, cedar, baked bread, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I picked up aromas of roasted almond, eucalyptus, camphor, roasted peanut, black pepper, and anise. The first infusion brought out a clove aroma and a subtle vanilla scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, dark chocolate, roasted almond, roasted peanut, baked bread, and butter that were balanced by hints of roasted cashew, honey, sugarcane, and vanilla. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of earth, pine, juniper, lemon zest, banana, red apple, plum, roasted cashew, leather, orange zest, roasted walnut, and smoke. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of roasted cashew, honey, sugarcane, and vanilla came out in the mouth alongside impressions of earth, minerals, leather, smoke, cedar, pine, juniper, lemon zest, roasted walnut, red apple, orange zest, caramel, camphor, eucalyptus, leather, and molasses. Hints of cinnamon, clove, black pepper, eucalyptus, banana, red grape, plum, smoke, and anise could also be detected. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cream, caramel, roasted cashew, roasted almond, baked bread, malt, vanilla, and butter that were chased by lingering hints of roasted peanut, honey, roasted walnut, sugarcane, lemon zest, orange zest, molasses, pine, camphor, and leather.

Feng Qing Dian Hong is almost always a complex, deep, and incredibly interesting tea, and that was certainly the case with this particular offering. I loved the way all of its aroma and flavor components worked together harmoniously, and I also must add that the tea liquor was appropriately full-bodied and richly textured in the mouth. Teas like this one, while providing a great overall drinking experience, would probably be too complex and demanding for someone just getting into Yunnan black teas, but for experienced drinkers, especially those who are established fans of Feng Qing teas, these are the sorts of offerings that are tremendously rewarding. If you are a fan of Feng Qing black teas, this is one to check out, and no, it really had not lost much of anything in storage.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Herbaceous, Honey, Leather, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Smoke, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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81

I’m finally back on Steepster. The last week has killed me. My entire family has been sick, thankfully not with COVID-19, and I did not get any rest this weekend due to running errands for them and assisting with the installation of the new computer and security systems at the home office and at one of our commercial rental properties. There were all kinds of little issues that required troubleshooting from the get-go, so of course we are still not done with everything, and I will be working on this stuff more this week and over the coming weekend. Anyway, I wanted to take a few minutes to pop off a couple more reviews and figured I’d start with one of my more recent sipdowns. I finished my 50g pouch of this tea a couple weeks ago. Yunnan Sourcing’s Da Hu Sai Village Wild Arbor Black Tea of Yunnan is one of their offerings I buy almost every year. I can always count on it to be solid, and that’s exactly what this spring 2018 tea was.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of malt, cream, cedar, tobacco, pine, and black raspberry. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, honey, and butter. The first infusion introduced aromas of earth and baked bread as well as a subtle cinnamon scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, pine, cream, cedar, baked bread, and roasted almond that were backed by hints of honey, earth, butter, brown sugar, tobacco, black raspberry, oats, and sweet potato. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of red apple, camphor, vanilla, orange zest, roasted hazelnut, sweet potato, and brown sugar as well as subtler scents of chocolate and black pepper. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of earth, butter, oats, sweet potato, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, red apple, roasted peanut, camphor, black pepper, orange zest, pear, black walnut, and roasted hazelnut. I also detected hints of chocolate, grapefruit pith, vanilla, and cinnamon. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, cream, earth, and orange zest that were balanced by lingering hints of pear, roasted almond, butter, chocolate, tobacco, and black walnut.

As mentioned earlier, this was a solid Yunnan black tea. Compared to the two previous productions, I found it to be a little less appealing, but it was still a more or less very satisfying offering that had held up very well in storage. Yunnan Sourcing is three for three with their Da Hu Sai Village black teas as far as I am concerned.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grapefruit, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raspberry, Red Apple, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
mrmopar

Sorry to hear about your family being sick. Hope all of y’all stay well out there.

eastkyteaguy

Thanks for the well wishes. Everyone took the day off to rest and seems to be doing better. The weather here had been warm and dry, but then changed suddenly to cool, windy, and wet at the end of the week. Everyone in my family has seasonal allergy issues, so the change in weather prompted everyone to quickly develop sinus infections.

mrmopar

Yeah our weather has been really crazy for October here as well.

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89

It’s time to take a quick break from reviewing black teas. I finished a 25g pouch of this tea last week, and I have kind of been itching to review it ever since. It was easily one of the most unique white teas I have tried in some time.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of corn husk, malt, hay, straw, and butter. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, sugarcane, cream, and golden raisin. The first infusion introduced aromas of honeydew, cantaloupe, and marshmallow. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of corn husk, malt, butter, hay, straw, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler flavors of honeydew, cantaloupe, and golden raisin. The majority of the subsequent infusions brought forth aromas of plum, apricot, watermelon, vanilla, wheat toast, cinnamon, minerals, autumn leaves, white pepper, caramel, horehound, camphor, honey, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of honeydew and cantaloupe appeared in the mouth alongside notes of wheat toast, marshmallow, cream, minerals, roasted almond, plum, golden apple, vanilla, apricot, bark, autumn leaves, caramel, red pear, cucumber, orange zest, sweet potato, horehound, watermelon rind, and honey. Hints of lychee, cinnamon, white pepper, ginger, and camphor lurked around the fringes. Once the tea began to fade, the liquor started emphasizing notes of minerals, malt, cucumber, wheat toast, watermelon rind, caramel, cream, honeydew, and sweet potato that were chased by lingering hints of orange zest, marshmallow, sugarcane, roasted almond, autumn leaves, vanilla, bark, horehound, ginger, and honey.

This was a durable and amazingly complex Indian white tea with a very unique mix of aroma and flavor components. It reminded me a good deal of an awesome Ceylonese white tea I purchased from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company several years ago. Compared to that tea, this one was somewhat less refined. Its aroma and flavor components grew increasingly muddled as my review session progressed, and the tea liquor thinned out a little more than I hoped it would. Still, this was a very nice white tea that struck me as stopping perhaps just a hair shy of crossing the threshold of excellence. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a unique and challenging white tea that is also an absolute blast to drink and pick apart.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Butter, Camphor, Cantaloupe, Caramel, Cinnamon, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Ginger, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Pepper, Plum, Raisins, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

Alright, it’s time to review something I finished earlier in the year. I finished this tea sometime during the spring. I had no intentions to drink it when I did, but I accidentally tore the side of the pouch removing it from the box it arrived in, so I immediately started working my way through what I had of it. Oddly, Nilgiri black teas do not often do a ton for me, yet the ones that impress me really impress me. This was one of those impressive offerings for me.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 197 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of straw, blueberry, cream, orange zest, raisin, and strawberry. After infusion, I detected aromas of apricot, plum, honey, cherry, and brown sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of straw, cream, apricot, plum, honey, baked bread, roasted almond, strawberry, raisin, malt, orange zest, blackberry, blueberry, red apple, cherry, pear, and brown sugar that were balanced by hints of butter, vanilla, and fig. Each sip then finished in a smooth, malty, creamy, and very fruity fashion.

I may be alone here, but I found this to be a knockout Nilgiri black tea. I loved its robust fruity notes and the smooth, mellow finish of each sip. What-Cha has been knocking it out of the park for at least the past year or two with their Nilgiri offerings. Each one I try ends up serving as a reminder that I need to devote some time to trying more Nilgiri teas.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Fig, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Pear, Plum, Raisins, Red Apple, Straw, Strawberry, Vanilla

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Courtney

Wow — this one sounds amazing! The straw and cream with honey and the fruits (blackberry!). I can’t get over how tasty this one sounds.

derk

It seems I have a palate that more often than not overlaps with yours, guy, but I couldn’t seem to pull much from this one; I think I have a difficult time parsing exceptionally smooth teas. Glad to finally read your experience!

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72

This was either my last sipdown in September or my first sipdown in October. I can’t remember which is the case. I finished a bunch of teas right around that time, so my confusion is perhaps understandable. Anway, I’m normally not huge on Yunnan bi luo chun black teas for whatever reason. Even when I like the regular loose leaf/bud offerings, I often find myself less impressed by the formed versions. I’m also normally a huge fan of Feng Qing black teas, and though I am not sure whether or not there is an unrolled/unformed version of this offering, it is still almost always the one regular Feng Qing black tea offering to which I have difficulty warming up each year. That trend continued with this spring 2018 tea. It was not bad, but it also just did not excite me all that much.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of malt, pine, cocoa, marshmallow, and smoke. After the rinse, I detected aromas of sweet potato, honey, cream, and sugarcane. The first infusion brought out aromas of caramel, baked bread, butter, and banana. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of malt, cream, butter, sweet potato, cooked green beans, and cocoa that were backed by hints of cinnamon, caramel, baked bread, roasted almond, banana, and sugarcane. The majority of the subsequent infusions brought forth aromas of roasted almond, eucalyptus, orange zest, and earth. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of roasted almond, baked bread, caramel, and sugarcane appeared in the mouth alongside notes of marshmallow, minerals, cocoa, and orange zest. I also picked up on hints of smoke, pine, honey, eucalyptus, grass, earth, and horehound. As the tea faded, the liquor served up notes of minerals, cream, cooked green beans, malt, marshmallow, and butter that were chased by lingering hints of baked bread, honey, orange zest, roasted almond, sugarcane, and sweet potato.

This was a very sensitive and subtle tea. It seemed to not react well to infusions that were conducted in rapid succession. It also seemed to hold back a lot throughout each session I conducted with it. Though the body and texture of the tea liquor were nice, the tea’s bouquet was a little more simplistic than I expected, and it was a bit too stuffy and reserved in terms of the way it expressed its flavor components. In the end, this was a pretty good tea, but it was not the sort of Yunnan black tea I typically enjoy. Out of all the regular Feng Qing offerings, this is the one that I will continue to look forward to the least each year.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pine, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Here is a slightly more recent sipdown of mine. This one came from either early or mid-September. Considering that many of the reviews I had seen were mixed, I did not expect to like this tea all that much. Well, it ended up surprising me. I found it to be an excellent offering overall.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of baked bread, hay, malt, sweet potato, sugarcane, and chocolate. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, and banana as well as a subtle camphor scent. The first infusion brought out more camphor on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, malt, cream, butter, sweet potato, hay, sugarcane, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of chocolate, roasted peanut, maple syrup, brown sugar, and banana. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of black pepper, cream, butter, eucalyptus, honey, clove, red apple, red grape, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of chocolate, roasted peanut, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth alongside mineral, black pepper, camphor, earth, eucalyptus, red apple, pear, honey, plum, clove, orange zest, and red grape notes. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to offer up notes of minerals, malt, roasted peanut, baked bread, roasted almond, butter, and orange zest that were balanced by lingering hints of sugarcane, red apple, pear, hay, honey, sweet potato, chocolate, and black pepper.

For me, I think the biggest issue with this tea was its name. There was a honey aroma present, but I found the tea’s overall bouquet to be nuttier, creamier, spicier, and more herbal. The honey aroma was not particularly consistent or dominant. I have that complaint a lot with so-called “honey aroma” teas. Ignoring that quibble, though, left me with a very pleasant, balanced, and complex Yunnan golden needle black tea. My advice to anyone interested in this tea would be to ignore the name and do not expect an overwhelming honey aroma. Approach it like you would any other golden needle black tea, and you will likely find it to be a tremendously rewarding offering.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Chocolate, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Hay, Honey, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

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