This was the first of the Darjeeling oolongs I tried back at the start of the month. Of the bunch, this was the one I expected to like the least, since I have not always had a particularly high opinion of the teas produced by the Mim Estate. Oddly, this tea and the Jungpana Spring Oolong ended up being my favorites.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material produced aromas of toasted cashew, hay, vanilla, cream, white grape, and dandelion. After the rinse, I found a more intense white grape aroma as well as new scents of jasmine, rose, geranium, orange blossom, mango, and plum. The first infusion remained intensely floral and fruity on the nose, though I found no new aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor was smoothly floral and fruity, initially displaying geranium, dandelion, orange blossom, and rose notes that gave way to impressions of malt, cream, hay, wood, white grape, mango, plum, toasted cashew, and vanilla before the floral notes reasserted themselves, this time with a subtle hint of jasmine making an appearance. Subsequent infusions saw aromas of toast, lemon balm, and marigold appear. Notes of lemon balm, toast, marigold, spearmint, white peach, grass, tangerine zest, and green bell pepper appeared in the mouth. The final few infusions emphasized lingering mineral, rose, orange blossom, grass, cream, and tangerine zest notes that were balanced by subtler impressions of wood, dandelion, white grape, hay, vanilla, and toasted cashew before a slight astringency settled in.
This was a very busy and complex tea that had a ton to offer a Darjeeling tea enthusiast. Its complexity and liveliness, however, also marked it as a tea that would not be suitable for someone just making the jump into the world of Darjeeling oolongs. I loved it, but this would definitely not be the sort of tea that I would recommend someone try first. In the end, this was an excellent tea, but it was a bit overwhelming.
Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Dandelion, Geranium, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Jasmine, Malt, Mango, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Peach, Plum, Rose, Spearmint, Toast, Vanilla, White Grapes, Wood