This is one that I have been meaning to get to for some time. I’m new to Bai Hao oolongs, but all of the very few I have tried or otherwise become familiar with have come from Taiwan. This one was sourced from mainland China. I was very curious to see how it compared to Taiwanese oolongs of this type.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 190 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 10 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I noted that the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of honey, peach, and apricot. After the rinse, I noted intense aromas of peach, honey, apricot, fresh flowers, wood, and some sort of minty herb. The first infusion produced a very similar, though slightly more floral aroma. In the mouth, I easily detected notes of honey, peach, apricot, and wood underscored by flower, cream, and herb notes. Subsequent infusions were noticeably more robust on the nose and in the mouth. The floral aromas and flavors began to separate, revealing lily, honeysuckle, gardenia, osmanthus, and magnolia impressions. The cream aroma and flavor began to soften the peach, apricot, and honey tones, while the woody and herbal characters began to stand out a little more. I also noted the emergence of mineral notes, as well as some more savory stuff. A doughy, bread-like character emerged, and I also detected hints of toast and steamed rice. The later infusions were mineral, bread, and cream heavy, though ghostly impressions of herbs, toast, wood, steamed rice, and peach were just barely identifiable.
Overall, I admired the depth and complexity of this oolong, but it was a bit too light on the palate for my taste. The last Bai Hao I rated (Tealyra’s Dong Fang Mei Ren Formosa Oolong) was fruitier and more syrupy, and I recall rather liking that about it. Compared to that one, this Chinese version is more floral and savory with a subtler, more refined layering of aromas and flavors. Normally, I would be all for that, but here, I was really looking for more sweetness and more fruitiness. Also, this tea faded just a hair quicker than I would have liked. To be clear, I still rather enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t spring for it over a good Taiwanese Bai Hao most days.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Herbs, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Osmanthus, Peach, Rice, Toast, Wood