Another very interesting sample from Tea Ave to help warm me up on a cold and icy day.
First thing I noticed when I set up was that opening the bag was a sensational experience, with a very intense fresh herbacious/grassy scent wafting up from the dry leaves. The only other teas I own that are like this are the freshest of Tie Guan Yin’s and the most traditional of Shinchas. Incidentally enough, they all are very lightly processed teas, so I guess that’s the key. Anyway, I put some in a pre-warmed gaiwan, boiled some water and let it cool off to about 95 degrees centigrade, and steeped it for about 7 seconds for the first infusion. Right off the bat there’s a very strong fresh herbacious aroma, which was expected but still pleasant. The tea produced is a very light honey color, with a slight green tint to it. The flavor profile of the tea is very smooth, with something between a silky and mineral mouthfeel that gradually trends towards more mineralish as the aftertaste continues. Flavors of grass, herbaciousness, and sweet hay dominate the profile, and the tea is very sweet like most lightly-processed teas. The tea is also very thirst-quenching, and will probably make for a good summer tea.
The second infusion was steeped for only 5 seconds, using 95 degree centigrade water. The resulting tea actually smells more floral this time, which is interesting since that’s something that tends to fad in other oolongs, not develop. The flavor profile actually tastes like I steeped it a bit to long, which is a bit odd. It’s lost the silkiness and has gained a tiny bit of astringency. I think that the best bet for this tea is to pour it immediately if the leaves are fully awoken, and I’ll try that for the next cup.
I performed the same steeping as the previous cup, but I poured as quickly as possible this time. The result was much better, with the smooth mouthfeel making a comeback and the absence of the astringency noted previously. The flavor is a bit more grassy now, but still very pleasant. The aftertaste is also less mineral now, and fades fairly quickly. I think this tea really didn’t like the treatment it got during the second steep, and is starting to fade now, so I’m stopping.
In the end, it’s a great tea, though probably not the ideal thing to drink during the winter. I’ll review this again in summer, and I’ll be a lot more careful with steep times.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Sweet