I have delayed posting this review for so long now. I finally decided to get it over with simply because I knew I had to get it out of the way at some point and wanted to be done with it. I dreaded posting this one so much mostly because I found this to be a really unexceptional tea. Normally, I like the Wuyi oolongs offered by Yunnan Sourcing, but this one did not do it for me in the least. For a Zhengyan tea, this was bland and poorly balanced with an unappealing texture in the mouth.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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 cinnamon, char, pine smoke, and cedar. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted peanut, cannabis, and mushroom. The first infusion did not seem to offer anything new on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cinnamon, char, and roasted peanut backed by a subtle creaminess. Subsequent infusions saw aromas of black cherry, black pepper, rock sugar, ginger, and hibiscus emerge. Flavors of mushroom, cannabis, and pine smoke belatedly appeared in the mouth accompanied by stronger cream notes and faint hints of cedar. New impressions of malt, black cherry, rock sugar, ginger, black pepper, hibiscus, caramel, and minerals emerged along with some subtle candied orange peel notes. As I worked my way deeper into the session, I also noted some faint grass, roasted green bean, and tobacco notes that came out toward the finish on several infusions. The last few infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, cream, malt, roasted peanut, and mushroom backed by very faint rock sugar, tobacco, and candied orange peel notes.

Generally, Wuyi Shui Xian is strong on the nose and on the palate, but this one was oddly timid in a number of places. The mouthfeel was much thinner and slicker than expected, and several of the aroma and flavor components did not always work well together. This was an awkward and often somewhat unappealing tea overall; indeed, it was definitely one of the least likable teas of this type I have tried. If you are looking for a quality Zhengyan Shui Xian, I’ll be honest and just tell you that this one is likely not going to be the tea for which you are looking. There are much better teas of this type out there.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cannabis, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Ginger, Grass, Green Beans, Hibiscus, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Peanut, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Yep, I had the same experience. Tasted like someone had already infused it eight times, dried the leaves out, then gave it to me to steep.

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Yep, I had the same experience. Tasted like someone had already infused it eight times, dried the leaves out, then gave it to me to steep.

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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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