I thought I’ve added or written about this one before. Guess I’ll write about it now, which maybe again.
I got this one because it was the same growers and roasters as the Phoenix Village Dong Ding that was in the club. This is a spring 2020 or 2021 crop, it the box notes the florals and dry fruit more than anything else.
I get those, but this tea is extremely tricky. Either I under leaf or over leaf this bad boy. Given Eco-Cha recommends a whopping 9 grams for western, this tea really needs to be pushed to coax out the full flavor. Every session has been refined, but earlier teas would mostly give me vegetal impressions of fruit, florals, and honey. The honey notes were shy, and usually showed up later. Doing this tumbler style over does the tea, making it too vegetal, and too malty somehow, reminding me of those raw fruit based fruit rollups or That’s It! bars.
As I’ve kept the tea for a little bit, my dry leaves have breathed out. I get more florals and fruit, and less vegetal qualities lately. It’s not super forward, but it’s complex having shifting tones of mineral, macadamia, plumeria or lilac, maybe vanilla, and other florals under a swiss chard body. Western has been the better method so far because it draws out the flavors instead of forcing them out at once giving me more complex mugs that change flavors as it cools.
I’m not sure what to rate it, but maybe between the 80s and 90s. It’s got high marks for aroma, complexity, and individual notes, but it’s harder to brew than the Club’s counterpart of the same kind of tea. I like that it’s easy going and not astringent or super grassy, yet there are so many aspects that are easily missed or overwhelmed by other qualities. I do think this is a much higher quality tea in taste than I gave it credit for, yet it took me a while to get down to it. I still think I overspent when I got it. I am, however, thankful I got so much so I can play and experiment with it. I still recommend Eco-Cha, and especially recommend this for someone willing to do a professional tasting of it. I can easily see some one meditate with this tea, and drink it in one large cup, slurping in spoonfuls after a busy day.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Drying, Floral, Gardenias, Honey, Kale, Mango, Mineral, Nutty, Orchids, Spices