I meant to get this review up a couple days ago, but I have been swamped and kind of sick lately. As a result, I have had neither the time nor the motivation to post regularly. I know I mentioned it in my review of What-Cha’s Indonesia Toba Wangi ‘Needle’ Green Tea, but this was the other tea from the Toba Wangi green tea shootout I recently did. Unlike the other tea, this one was produced from Si Ji Chun, a cultivar of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis most popular in Taiwan where it is heavily associated with oolong production (four season oolongs, anyone?). I had seen this tea described as coming across almost like a Dancong, and I have to say that description is largely accurate. I greatly enjoyed this tea. As a matter of fact, this may have been the most unique green tea I have tried to this point in the year.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. I normally do not rinse green teas, but since this tea had been in storage for some time and I had flash rinsed the other tea in the shootout, I flash rinsed this tea as well. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced interesting aromas of honey, pine, cedar, and roasted nuts. The rinse brought out malt, citrus, and flowers. The first infusion brought out a touch of straw on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered delicate notes of honey, malt, grass, and straw balanced by hints of roasted nuts and fresh flowers. Subsequent infusions grew considerably more complex. Impressions of cream, butter, nectar, orange blossom, tangerine, oats, spinach, seaweed, tea flower, pomelo, gardenia, pine, cedar, lettuce, and minerals all appeared at one point or another. The later infusions offered a more pronounced mineral presence and mild notes of spinach, seaweed, pine, and cedar coupled with fleeting hints of cream, butter, and roasted nuts.
An incredibly complex and decidedly nontraditional green tea, this tea honestly had a lot in common with many greener oolongs. I do not think it would be a stretch to state that your enjoyment of it will likely depend upon your perceptions of such oolongs. Personally, I love Taiwanese four season oolongs, jade Tieguanyin, Wenshan baozhong, and some of the lighter Dancongs, so this tea was right up my alley. I would definitely recommend it highly to adventurous green tea drinkers and oolong fans alike.
Flavors: Butter, Cedar, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honey, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Blossom, Pine, Roasted Nuts, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw