Okay, with this review I am finally working my way back into the teas I have finished this month. I still have a few reviews from November that I need to get posted, but I wanted to move on to something a little more recent. This is a tea that carries something of an excellent reputation here on Steepster, and I was very aware of that going into my review session for it. My expectations were understandably very high, thus my review session could have only gone two ways: I could have come away disappointed, or I could have found the tea to be fairly assessed by previous reviewers. Fortunately, this tea lived up to its reputation. It was excellent in just about every way. As a matter of fact, I was tempted to assign it a perfect score, but chose to dock it a couple points due to a somewhat quick (but still highly enjoyable) fade.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, cedar, black cherry, blueberry, orchid, and pomegranate that were underscored by a subtle scent of smoke. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond and charcoal that were accented by hints of cannabis. The first infusion introduced an aroma of roasted peanut and some underlying scents of grass. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of pomegranate, blueberry, roasted almond, and orchid that were chased by a pleasant cream taste and hints of smoke, charcoal, and roasted peanut. Subtle notes of grass, cannabis, and black cherry were detectable in the aftertaste. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of raspberry, brown sugar, plum, peach, malt, candied orange, and baked bread. Stronger and more immediate notes of black cherry and roasted peanut appeared alongside belatedly emerging impressions of cedar and cinnamon. New notes of minerals, peach, raspberry, honey, plum, baked bread, candied orange, and brown sugar were easily detectable, and I also managed to pick out some subtle hints of golden raisin, butter, and malt. By the time I ended my review session, the tea liquor was offering dominant notes of minerals, malt, roasted almond, baked bread, roasted peanut, cream, and cedar that were chased by hints of grass, butter, and golden raisin.

A lively and deliciously complex tea with tremendously appealing texture in the mouth, I immediately understood why this tea had garnered such ridiculously high ratings after finishing my review session. I am a huge fan of Wuyi Qilan, and quite frankly, this one was the best I have ever had. If you get the opportunity to try this tea, please take it. I highly doubt you will be disappointed.

Flavors: Almond, Blueberry, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Cannabis, Cedar, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Plum, Raisins, Raspberry, Smoke

6 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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