I finished a sample of this oolong last night, and after taking a moment to look this tea up on Steepster, found myself wondering why this tea was so poorly received. Now, I, by my own admission, am a huge fan of Shui Jin Gui, but I found this to be an extremely tasty, expertly processed tea. The roast was just present enough to add some depth, but was light enough to showcase the natural aromas and flavors of this cultivar.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of char, vanilla, damp grass, hay, and wood. After the rinse, I picked up powerful aromas of custard, orange, and rock sugar. The first infusion brought out touches of gentle spice, cocoa, stone fruits, and butter. In the mouth, I detected a pleasant combination of damp grass, hay, char, wood, vanilla, stone fruits, and orange. Subsequent infusions brought out the butter, cocoa, custard, and rock sugar in the mouth. I also began to pick up definite touches of roasted almond, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, apricot, yellow plum, lemon, daylily, orchid, cream, popcorn, and minerals. The later infusions were dominated by minerals, hay, grass, roasted almond, wood, popcorn, and butter, though I could still detect fleeting impressions of vanilla, custard, and citrus in at least a couple of places.

All in all, this was an impressive tea. It was not the most complex or challenging Shui Jin Gui I have tried, but it was very aromatic, flavorful, and satisfying. Teas like this one, the Qilan Light Roast, and the Rou Gui Light Roast are rapidly convincing me that Li Xiangxi does some of her best work when she keeps the roasting to a minimum.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Orchid, Plum, Popcorn, Sugar, Vanilla, Wood

Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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.



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