Starting with oolongs again today. This may be the new normal.
This one is fascinating and wonderful. I don’t think I’ve had anything like it before.
It’s also pretty surprising, starting with the smokiness of the dry leaf. The typical sharp, roasty dark oolong note is not present at all, but a definite smokiness is.
I steeped in the gaiwan, five steeps in five second increments starting at 15 seconds after rinsing.
The first steep was lighter in color than the others — a light yellow, while the others were a more medium golden color.
The tea is smoky, not roasty-toasty, and it is sweet. It starts sweet in a floral sort of way and since it is named rare orchid, I’m going to say that’s the flower.
On subsequent steeps, something fruity appears, but it’s not the woody-fruit flavor of some other dark oolongs, what I think of as stonefruit because it reminds me of sucking on peach pits. This is, instead, the fruit itself, and I am having a hard time putting my finger on which fruit. I want to say peach, or maybe a sweet melon. There’s still some smoke, and still some nectar-like sweetness.
I went for a fifth steep with this and I could have gone more. Toward the end, I started to get something confectionary, like almond pastry. I must emphasize that for me, there is no toastiness here but there is smoke.
Fascinating, surprising, and delicious. Too bad Andao is no more.
Flavors: Floral, Melon, Nectar, Orchid, Peach, Smoke