This was my final sipdown of October and another tea that I am struggling to rate numerically. It didn’t leave much of an impression on me, and the little bit I recall about it doesn’t leave me with particularly positive feelings. I think I found this to be a pretty awkward and unappealing Dancong oolong.
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 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of pomelo, cherry, butter, orange blossom, peach, and plum. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of honey, sugarcane, and tangerine that were accompanied by a subtle grassy scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of white grape, violet, and orchid. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of pomelo, cherry, butter, sugarcane, orange blossom, tangerine, and honey that were chased by hints of white grape, violet, peach, plum, grass, wood, and pomegranate. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of pomegranate, turnip greens, coriander, lychee, basil, and collard greens. Stronger and more immediate wood, white grape, pomegranate, grass, and plum notes appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging orchid hints and new impressions of minerals, turnip greens, coriander, spinach, collard greens, pear, lychee, basil, and honeydew rind. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, grass, spinach, coriander, wood, and honeydew rind that were balanced by hints of basil, turnip greens, sugarcane, violet, white grape, lychee, pomelo, and pomegranate.
The more I think about it, the more I come away with the impression that this was a very strange and awkward tea that had some rough edges that really irked me. It was a bit astringent in the mouth, and some of those vegetal notes came through in ways that struck me as being distinctly unpleasant. The nicely textured tea liquor and pleasant, clear flower and fruit notes kept it from being a total wash, but this tea did not make much of a positive impression on me. I found it to be a mixed bag with slightly more good than bad. A score just below 60 feels about right to me, at least for now.
Flavors: Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Fruity, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Plum, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes, Wood