I typed a review for this yesterday, but it seems to have gotten eaten. Oh well, here we go with the second take. To summarize my introduction from the previous vanished review, this tea is somewhat lighter than the Winter 2015 Farmer’s Choice Baozhong. I kind of like it, but I do have to admit that I prefer the tea from the previous harvest to this one.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. I tried to replicate the brewing methodology that got me such strong results with the winter 2015 tea, and I was mostly successful. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes. I do not recall explaining this methodology in a previous review, but in essence, I am most familiar with Chinese gongfu practices when it comes to brewing oolongs, and I am most comfortable brewing oolongs in this way. That is why I do not normally follow Taiwanese gongfu guidelines. As I learn more about Taiwanese brewing practices, I may try to switch things up a bit, but until then, I am going to stick with the methods with which I am most comfortable and familiar.
Prior to the rinse, I noted that the dry tea leaves emitted mildly floral, grassy aromas. After the rinse, I again noted mild aromas of grass and fresh flowers. The first infusion produced a similar, though slightly more defined aroma. I was able to pick out distinct scents of lilac, honeysuckle, violet, snow pea, butter, cream, custard, and sweetgrass. In the mouth, floral notes of honeysuckle, violet, and lilac dominated the entry before giving way to savory, smooth notes of cream, butter, and custard. Mild vegetal notes of sweetgrass and snow pea emerged on the finish and were underscored by a faint impression of tropical fruit. Subsequent infusions were both fruitier and more intensely floral on the nose and in the mouth. A distinct lily impression began to emerge, as did impressions of pineapple, papaya, and mango. Later infusions were mostly savory and vegetal, offering cream, butter, snow pea, and sweetgrass aromas and flavors underscored by a subtle mineral presence, though I could just barely detect ghostly lily, lilac, violet, custard, and pineapple impressions in the background.
As far as spring harvested baozhongs go, this one could have been much worse. It definitely made for an interesting comparison with the winter 2015 harvest. This one was much lighter with a very unique fruity character. Still, if I had to pick between the two, I would choose the winter 2015 baozhong over this one. My nose and palate tend to naturally favor teas from the later harvests, and I also felt that this baozhong faded just a little earlier than it should have. All in all, I found this to be a pretty good baozhong, and I certainly would not hesitate to recommend it to fans of this type of oolong, but given my preferences, it suffered a little bit in comparison to the tea from the previous harvest.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mango, Mineral, Peas, Pineapple, Violet