10 months later edit: Well reading this from being much further along now is a little funny. It’s clear that I had the misfortune of only drinking bad oolongs from Western vendors from the start LOL. Live and learn. Changing my recommendation given what I now know, though leaving the review up.
4g, 130mL, gongfu gaiwan, brita water off the boil
Made this past midnight one night. Never mind the caffeine. Had an awful day and this was all I could think of wanting to do to alleviate mood. a bit of nose drip so probably didn’t catch everything.
Wet leaves smell of the standard slightly roasted smell, tiny bit of grassy and floral with a note of sweet smoke
Nice yellow to golden infusions
Initial quick steep was light and nice. Overdid the timing on the second, and along w light florals got a strong smokey bitter note that I was not a fan of. If you’ve ever had bitter steamed broccoli before (probably not on purpose, just by misfortune), it tastes exactly like that. Will admit that I had kiwi fruit just before starting this session so I’m not sure if there’s a sweet aftertaste or if it’s the kiwi still oops. Probably at least a bit can be attributed to the tea, but it’s definitely subtler, not very in your face. Later brews are pretty similar, probably shouldn’t have kept up with the water off the boil.
Though open Door Teas did say to use boiling water on the sample but on the site under 180, based on my personal oolong brewing experience, I would likely move that lower to about 195f-200f. At boiling, my brews were a touch more bitter than I would’ve preferred, even with gongfu controlling timing. I misplaced the remainder of my sample, so I won’t be able to redo, but if someone takes my recommendation, do let me know how you fare!
Been trying out some Taiwanese oolongs lately and after those, I do prefer Chinese for the most part. I like the little bite that the Chinese roasted oolongs have compared to the flatter (to me), more floral vegetal Taiwanese oolongs that I’ve tried so far.
That all being said, this is a relatively solid okay leaf quality with no frills oolong for anyone who likes or would like to try an oolong representative of the general category without breaking the bank to do so. would I personally keep a stash long term? Probably not since I like the sweetness (huigan if you want to be fancy I guess) in my oolongs to be a bit stronger and lighter bitter note, though preferences can change over time so we will see!
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Grass, Roasted, Smoke