I whispered, ‘Wow.’
This unroasted Qi Lan packs it in with an undeniable strength in aroma, taste and aftertaste. The dry leaf had aromas of dark chocolate, brown sugar, anise, orchid, oak wood and vanilla. I’m surprised to have picked up those darker notes in an unroasted tea, but maybe it was my familiarity with the normally roasted Qi Lan playing games with my olfactories. The aroma of the warmed and rinsed leaf was like walking into an orchid shop with some whiffs from the bakery next door that was browning some butter.
I had to drink the rinse.
The aroma wafting from the cup had strong notes of orchid, brown sugar and vanilla. The taste was an expansive bouquet of orchids in the mouth again with the brown sugar and vanilla while a very pure and pronounced minerality flowed underneath and glided across the tongue. Delicately oily with very light astringency and bitterness. The aftertastes were equally decadent with orchid, vanilla, white peach, chocolate, graham? and milk? This fanfare continued for another 3 steeps before giving way to a more delicate symphony which brought the white peach forward along with some lemon water and grass. The aftertastes moved into almond, butter and wood and the tea completely gave up the ghost with its eighth infusion (including the rinse).
Overall, this tea made a lasting impression with its upfront aromas and tastes and prolonged aftertastes. It was missing a bit of body and was lacking in longevity but I am grateful to have had the opportunity to try an unroasted Wuyi oolong both for its own sake and for comparison to its roasted companion.
7.3g, 100mL, 200F, rinse (drank) followed by 7 steeps of 10/15/20/25/30/40/50s
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Fruity, Graham, Grass, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Oak, Orchid, Peach, Vanilla, Wood