I figured I’d finally get some of my own tasting notes out for this tea, one of my favorites for its profile and ease of brewing. This harvest is from sometime in 2017 and has had over a year for the roast to calm down (it wasn’t too strong to begin with) and allow other aromas and flavors to develop. Tonight, I choose you, gongfu. I haven’t drank this tea gongfu in a long time, instead brewing it in my 20oz thermos all of last semester to fuel me through night classes.
5g, 100mL, 205F, rinse, lost count of steeps but made it through 2L of water tonight.
Dry leaf smells tart, fruity, sweet and toasty with notes of roasted pear, baked apple and quince, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Warmed, it smells like just like cinnamon raisin toast. Rinsing brings out rye, caramel, cardboard, black cherry and a hint of burnt sugar.
This tea starts out strong and fades very slowly. With the first steep, the liquor is a sparkling and intense dark auburn-amber and maintains this color throughout the session. It has a light, sweet aroma with notes of baking spices and toast. In the mouth, I pick up on roasted pear, golden raisin, baked sweet apple, rock sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a light mineral presence. The tea is very clean in the mouth, light-bodied and smooth and lacks much of an aftertaste, making it very easy to drink without having to focus. The tea peaks in flavor around with the third steep, typical for a rolled oolong (it looks like a Chinese tieguanyin rather a balled Taiwanese oolong) and fades slowly from there. Toward the end, the fruit and spice notes become indistinguishable, providing a background to butter and wood/slight tannins, with some sweet lemon becoming noticeable.
Admittedly, the tea hasn’t changed much since I first tried it, but I still love it. It’s an easy-going, unpretentious, straight-forward brew with comforting aromas and flavors that always leave me in an excellent mood.