As of this afternoon, I can smell and taste again. I didn’t know how long that would last, so I decided to enjoy it while I could. That meant that it was time to break out a high mountain oolong. I had 4 grams of this tea left and decided to finish it off while I had the chance.

Naturally, I opted to prepare this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped all 4 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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 emitted subtle aromas of butter and orchid. After the rinse, I detected a pleasant mix of vanilla, butter, cream, and orchid scents. There was also a subtle hint of some kind of mild spice, but I could not place it. The closest I can get to describing it would be to compare it to sweet cinnamon. The first infusion produced a balanced bouquet with a slightly more pronounced vanilla presence. In the mouth, there were mild, balanced notes of cream, butter, vanilla, spice, and orchid underscored by a touch of grassiness. Subsequent infusions did not do all that much different. The vanilla, butter, and orchid impressions swelled. The impressions of grass were also slightly amplified. There was another kind of vegetal presence too. It may seem strange, but it reminded me of banana leaf. I got a hint of green plantain on a couple of these infusions too. The later infusions were typically mild and mellow, but with slightly more flavor than expected. There was not a ton of minerality to this tea. Instead, the later infusions emphasized a balance of mineral, cream, butter, and grass to go along with faint orchid and plantain notes.

I know my perspective may be skewed owing to my inability to do much with teas like this for quite awhile, but I greatly enjoyed this tea. It was not particularly busy or complex, but it had a great deal of charm. Though straight-forward, the blend of aromas and flavors on display was unique and instantly appealing. I also appreciated the texture. This tea had great body and was so silky in the mouth. I’m glad I had the opportunity to snag some of this before it disappeared for good.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Mineral, Orchid, Vanilla, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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