Spring 2019 Wu Yi Shan Da Hong Pao
TL;DR: No, I didn’t buy this myself. And I’m glad I didn’t regift it, because this is a rather poor example of “quality” oolong.
212 f, Whole Foods distilled water roughly mixed (+-.005g for each ingredient) (consumer grade mg scales are finnicky) to Arby’s (Empirical tea) Simple Syrup water recipe.
Whole 8g packet
1x 5s rinse
dry leaf: smoke, and roasty, with caramel & dark chocolate notes, slight spices
wet leaf: sweet tinged smoke
5s: Bitter woody and slight medicinal. Something cinnamon-like, and edges/aftertaste is sweet then a slightly mint-edged vegetal. Brown sugar smell in empty cup.
5s: similar to before, with crisp edges & lightened bitterness.
7s: smoky, but lightened. Crushed mint & sugar finish per usual. A burp here and a couple later but I forget which steepings exactly. I won’t pretend to understand all the abstractions & nuances of cha qi, but this seems definitely impacted by the water, as this water was also bringing this reaction from a Chinese mini white tea shou mei cake/gifted by mom’s relative (not reviewed here as I’m too lazy to figure out the rest of the chinese on the label). Slight hint of dried fruit somewhere.
10s: similar, nothing exciting. Quite disappointing for the price tag. Far better teas out there for far cheaper.
18s: Nothing wrong w/ tea, but it has lightened significantly.
23s: Going to stop writing here. Poor longevity/performance downwards given how it’s dropped off thus far.
Based on the other two reviews here, there must’ve been a huge drop in quality vs. previous batches, or I just got horribly unlucky with a crappy pack. This is not a straight-up bad tea, but I refuse to believe that anyone sane is willing to shell out $28 for 8g of this more than once. It’s not that this tastes disgusting or whatever, but this is absolutely one of the worst performing oolongs I’ve ever steeped in terms of longevity, especially for something obviously not just lightly roasted, and has already been sitting for two years. Taste-wise, this is palatable, but not exceptional in a single way, be it mouthfeel, aroma, taste, aftertaste, or any other metric. The only reason I will probably remember this tea by is for how lame it was for the price. The numerical rating reflects my annoyance that I wasted my time mixing water for this tea and brewing this tea in particular, and since Steepster skews every rating to a high average anyway.