I purchased this sample at a co-op in San Francisco that derk told me about, back in… 2018, I believe? (I don’t think I’ve even been able to get back out to California, where my best friend lives, since that time…) I drank a cuppa western yesterday morning, but decided to gong fu brew it this morning (What?! Two gong fu sessions this month?!) Just enough leaf left for one more western brew, as well.
Using as my (final!) March sipdown prompt, “a tea with spinach/artichoke notes.”
180ml (mini pot) | 10g | 205F | Rinse/25s/30s/35s/15s/15s/15s
The leaf after the rinse has a strong sour vegetal aroma (an amalgamation of kale, spinach, and basil), and the leaf has expanded so much it fills my tiny pumpkin teapot! The tea on the other hand smells sweet and floral… lilacs, honey, and cream. The flavor tastes a bit perfumy on the first infusion, with a strong sharpness at the end of the sip and a coating, somewhat oily floral left on the tongue. Second steep was the same, leaving me to question if I just haven’t figured out leaf ratios for gong fu correctly since my western cup was smooth smooth smoooooooooth without any sourness or overly-obnoxious floral. Third steep was a bit more mild, but still more astringent than I prefer… the floral, however, had subsided a bit and vegetal notes started to come out, a bit of a spinachy/garden peas note. On the fourth infusion I decided to cut back the infusion time rather than increase it, which helped some, but I still wasn’t a fan of the thickly floral aftertaste.
I finished out the water I’d boiled at six steeps. Perhaps I botched this gong fu session, but I preferred the western cup, which was a very smooth cup with that lovely lilac cream aroma, with a warm garden peas/spinach vegetal note followed by honeyed cream and soft lilacs, and absolutely no sour or astringent notes. Rating is based on the pleasant western brew rather than this lackluster gong fu session. I’m glad I still have enough leaf left to do another western brew cup!
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Garden Peas, Honey, Lilac, Mineral, Smooth, Spinach, Vegetal