This was the last of the Indian oolongs I consumed in 2018 and the second of two Assam oolongs I have tried to this point in my tea drinking life. This one gave me the impression that maybe they are just not for me. This tea struck me as being somewhat odd, though it was not nearly as challenging or as memorable as the Halmari Special Summer Oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material produced aromas of cream, malt, wood, roasted almond, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of straw, honeysuckle, and menthol. The first infusion did not seem to introduce any new aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, malt, wood, roasted almond, toasted cashew, honeysuckle, and menthol that were chased by hints of straw, brown sugar, grass, and watermelon rind. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of watermelon, lemon zest, coriander, and cucumber. Stronger and more upfront watermelon rind and grass notes appeared in the mouth along with impressions of minerals, cucumber, and lemon zest. There were also some stray hints of coriander here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, malt, lemon zest, and watermelon rind that were underscored by hints of cucumber, grass, cream, wood, and menthol.

Compared to the Halmari oolong, this was a much simpler and more straightforward tea, though it was also much shorter-lived and less memorable. It kind of just was. In the end, I could not muster much of a reaction to it. I guess it was okay for what it was. It was certainly less prickly and unpredictable than the other Assam oolong, but it was also less fun to drink and much plainer. If there were a numerical score that could be summed up with the description “not bad, but whatever,” it would probably be a 60. That’s all this tea was to me, and perhaps it could even be argued that I am being a tad generous.

Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Honeysuckle, Lemon Zest, Malt, Melon, Menthol, Mineral, Nutty, Straw, Wood

185 °F / 85 °C 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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