Another of the autumn 2015 and spring 2016 teas that I have been desperately trying to finish up before moving on to the more recent harvests, this Jin Guanyin is one that I have been looking forward to reviewing for some time now. I didn’t mean to put off reviewing it for so long, it’s just that I ended up with a little more of it than I had planned. Overall, I found this to be an excellent and resilient green oolong that struck an admirable balance between savory and floral characteristics.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 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, the dry leaves emitted strongly savory and floral aromas of cream, butter, and lilac. After the rinse, I picked up more pronounced aromas of cream, butter, and lilac coupled with scents of violet, steamed rice, and honeysuckle. The first infusion produced a similar, though more balanced aroma. I also began to note emerging impressions of gardenia and citrus on the nose. In the mouth, the entry was dominated by savory notes of steamed rice, cream, and butter, though floral notes of lilac, gardenia, violet, and honeysuckle were quick to provide a little balance. A little bit of sweetgrass also emerged toward the finish. Subsequent infusions were more floral on the nose and in the mouth, offering more pronounced aromas and flavors of lilac, gardenia, violet, and honeysuckle. The citrus emerged fully at this point, as the tea began to display an impression of lime zest beneath the floral aromas and flavors. The sweetgrass on the finish slightly intensified and was joined by a subtle note of minerals. Later infusions were very mild and washed out, offering dominant aromas and flavors of butter, cream, minerals, and sweetgrass, though I could still detect a distant floral impression on the finish. The tea also acquired a faint nutty character at this point, as I kept getting a very distant note of hazelnut.
I have had this tea at several different points over the past couple of months, and unlike the 2015 Green Goddess from Floating Leaves, I could tell that this one had mellowed just a tad. Still, the tea was very bright and lively in the mouth with strong savory and floral aromas and flavors. Despite this tea’s age, it was still an excellent drinking experience. I would recommend this tea to fans of contemporary green finish Anxi oolongs who are looking for amplified versions of the savory and floral characteristics displayed by both Huang Jin Gui and Tieguanyin.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Hazelnut, Honeysuckle, Lime, Mineral, Rice, Violet