Here is another review of a December sipdown for everyone to enjoy. As a side note, I should be able to get the rest of the December reviews posted by the end of the week. In addition to the remaining December reviews, I have two other old reviews (one from October that I completely forgot about and another from November that I just haven’t been in the mood to fool with for over a month) that I will also post in the very near future so I can move on to the current month’s sipdowns. I only had a 10 gram sample pouch of this tea and finished it sometime around Christmas. I can be pretty hard on Wuyi Shui Xian at times, but I found this one to be excellent. Had it not peaked so quickly, I probably would have assigned it a score between 98 and 100, but I chose to dock a few points (mostly) due to its rather brief peak and fast yet pleasant fade.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves produced aromas of black cherry, pine, blackberry, cinnamon, cedar, and blueberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, caramel, rock sugar, and ginger. The first infusion then introduced subtle aromas of roasted peanut and cream. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, roasted almond, cream, cinnamon, pine, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of ginger, rock sugar, malt, and grass. There were also some cooling notes in the aftertaste that reminded me of both tobacco and menthol. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of grass, tar, baked bread, pomegranate, mushroom, and earth. Stronger and more upfront notes of grass, rock sugar, and malt appeared alongside belatedly emerging notes of caramel and cedar in the mouth. I also noted new impressions of minerals, baked bread, and butter accompanying subtler notes of tar, earth, black pepper, pomegranate, and mushroom. The same menthol and tobacco notes continued to linger in the mouth after each swallow. As the tea faded, the tea liquor offered notes of minerals, earth, pine, mushroom, malt, cream, and roasted peanut that were underscored by hints of butter, baked bread, black cherry, rock sugar, and grass. Once again, cooling notes of menthol and tobacco were evident in the aftertaste, yet at the end of the session, they were also joined by an unexpected hint of popcorn.
In my opinion, this was about as good as a Wuyi Shui Xian could possibly be. I was slightly disappointed by the leaf quality and the tea’s sudden peak and quick fade, but honestly, this tea was enjoyable enough to almost entirely make up for those two quibbles. What-Cha tends to source some very enjoyable Wuyi teas, and this one was certainly a worthy addition to the stable. If you are able to acquire some at any point, I would definitely recommend giving this tea a shot.
Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Ginger, Grass, Malt, Menthol, Mushrooms, Peanut, Pine, Popcorn, Roasted, Sugar, Tar, Tobacco