When it comes to Taiwanese oolongs, I sometimes get the impression that unflavored Jin Xuan oolongs may get a little overlooked. I just don’t see them as frequently as I see their flavored counterparts. Of the four Jin Xuan oolongs I have tried from Tealyra in the last year, this is the only one that was unflavored. I found it to be a light, approachable oolong that would work well as an introduction to unflavored Jin Xuan.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 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, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced mild aromas of spinach, grass, seaweed, and cream. After the rinse, I found new aromas of butter, vanilla, and sugarcane backed by a hint of orchid. The first infusion introduced a hint of citrus on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered mild notes of seaweed, cream, butter, spinach, and grass underscored by ghostly impressions of vanilla and orchid. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger vanilla and orchid notes as well as impressions of Asian pear, lettuce, daylily blossoms, orange zest, daylily shoots, and minerals. The sugarcane also showed up in the mouth around this time. The later infusions were heavy on mineral and cream notes, though traces of daylily, lettuce, seaweed, spinach, and butter were still detectable.

Overall, this tea was not bad. It was more vegetal than expected, but honestly, there was not much of anything that struck me as being off or out-of-place. I would not call this the best unflavored Jin Xuan in the world, but one could do far worse than reaching for this when one is in the mood for such a tea. I wouldn’t make it a regular or anything like that, but I wouldn’t caution others to avoid it either. Try this tea if you are looking for an accessible and affordable unflavored Jin Xuan.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Lettuce, Mineral, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 6 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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