This is yet another tea from the backlog. I finished a sample pouch of this oolong back towards the end of May, logged review notes for it, and just never bothered to do anything with them until now. Looking back over my review notes for this tea reminded me that this tea was one of the lone bright spots in my recent run with Wuyi Shui Xian. Surprisingly, this was one of the cheapest of the lot I recently tried too.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, char, dark chocolate, cannabis, and dark wood accompanied by some subtle orchid accents. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of smoke and roasted peanut underscored by some vague vegetal hints. The first infusion then introduced aromas of black cherry, tobacco, and pomegranate balanced by hints of lotus and hibiscus. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially offered pronounced hibiscus, orchid, and lotus notes before moving on to reveal heavier char, cinnamon, roasted peanut, smoke, and cannabis impressions, finally finishing with hints of cream, black cherry, and rock sugar. Subsequent infusions saw the aromas of fruit and flowers repeatedly assert themselves while new scents of cream, rock sugar, and minerals made themselves known. In the mouth, pomegranate, tobacco, and dark chocolate finally appeared alongside mineral, mandarin orange, grass, mushroom, caramel, and butter notes. The final infusions displayed a heavy lingering mineral presence and pleasant notes of roasted peanut, smoke, cream, and char balanced by fleeting touches of dark wood, dark chocolate, rock sugar, and black cherry.

Had this tea displayed just a slightly more pronounced fruitiness, it would have been a slam dunk for me. As is, however, this was still a very nice Wuyi Shui Xian with admirable strength, complexity, and longevity on the nose and in the mouth. I know I have said it before, but Old Ways Tea offers some impressive stuff at reasonable prices. This was yet another quality offering from them, one well worth checking out for fans of Wuyi Shui Xian.

Flavors: Butter, Cannabis, Caramel, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hibiscus, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Orchid, Peanut, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco

5 g 3 OZ / 88 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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