Yay! Tea #2 from my Li Xiangxi Special Sample Pack! The dry leaf aroma is strong and kind of smells like a roasted Tie Guan Yin. I opted not to do a rinse. The first steep was for 3 seconds. It smells bizarre and slightly rancid, like sweaty underarms. The initial flavor is a bit like dirty, sweaty socks but the aftertaste is okay and more tea-like. It tastes strongly of passion fruit.
The second steep for 5 seconds was much improved. Do yourself a favor and rinse this tea!! The brewed tea aroma is no longer rancid sweat and the flavor is pure delicious tea. It’s much more enjoyable now. This has very strong floral and fruit notes. I swear it tastes exactly like a cross between honeysuckle and passion fruit. The flavor is so strong and thick that it almost tastes like I’m drinking pollen. A fruity pollen.
Wow, I really don’t think I’ve ever had such a fruity, floral unflavored tea. This is quite remarkable. Verdant’s notes say this is orchid, honey, melon, and aloeswood incense. I’m not getting much in the way of honey or sweetness. Orchid? Maybe. Yeah, I could see orchid. But to me, it is screaming honeysuckle pollen and passion fruit.
Third steep for 10 seconds. Okay, now I’m tasting honey. I can see the melon note as well, although I still prefer to define it as passion fruit. I don’t know what aloeswood incense is, but I would say this tea has very little spice to it. I’m also getting a bit more of the dark, woodsy, rocky minerality that I would expect from this type of oolong. But overall, there is not much minerality to speak of.
Fourth infusion for 15 seconds is just as delicious. The tea liquor is slowly darkening but still pretty light. It looks like liquid rose gold. :)
Next I had a small cup of 200 degree water. I read on Verdant’s site to drink plain hot water after every few infusions to clear your palate. I’m honestly surprised how much this plain water tastes like tea! As the water touches my palate, it seems to reawaken the aftertaste of the tea! It’s really a remarkable and fascinating thing to experience.
Fifth infusion for 20 seconds. The tea’s losing its bite, its punch. Still good but not quite as flavorful as the first few cups. It seems to build on my tongue though and the aftertaste lingers for a long time.
Sixth infusion for 30 seconds. The tea liquor is getting lighter again. There’s a bit more rocky minerality to it followed quickly by floral and fruity notes at the end of the sip. I’m starting to understand why this tea is so expensive. Special Grade? Yes, it is truly special indeed.
I really had a terrible day. One of the worst days I’ve had in a long time. The kind of day that makes you wonder why life is worth living. What’s the point of it all? What’s the point of living if you’re just in pain and causing pain to those around you? Am I supposed to just soldier through and pray that one day the pain will disappear? Am I supposed to hope that I’ll wake up one day and miraculously be whole again? What’s the point of living if I’m going to be broken forever? Life isn’t all bad. I have many things to be grateful for. But when there’s something physically broken about you that impacts your very identity as a woman, it’s really hard to see past that to the good things in life. You can try to ignore it but you can’t keep that up for long. This tea magically transported me out of that dark mindset, at least for a few minutes.
Seventh infusion for 50 seconds. Still good but definitely losing flavor. I think I’ll try a couple long steeps and then call it quits. Sorry that I took this note to a dark place at the end. I’m just devastated and I need an outlet. But back to the tea, this is truly special and definitely worth your time (and money) to pick up a sample. At $29/ounce, I don’t think I can afford a large quantity of this. But I am very glad that I was able to get a great deal on the Li Xiangxi Special Sample Pack so that I could try this tea. It’s an experience worth having.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Passion Fruit