Decided to do a late night Gong Fu session after we got back from the restaurant; I don’t work tomorrow and we’ve already celebrated our Christmas so there’s no reason I can’t stay up late tonight and sleep in tomorrow.
I’m doing the whole cake of this one; just broken up into a few smaller chunks. It’s very loosely compressed, so it was really easy for me to break it up. I ordered a couple of these a while ago to experiment with and am only just now getting to them – I couldn’t resist the thematic tie in of having a ‘fruit cake’ for Christmas. Visually, the ‘cake’ is stunning though! Large leaf pieces, and a wide range of colours! Plus, when I cracked open the vacuum sealed packaging, I was hit with the most lovely aroma! Very sweet, with bright notes of overly ripe cherries and peaches. So many people have described this one as tasting like banana though, so I’m fascinated to see if I get that too.
No rinse – going straight into this one!
Steep One – Ten Seconds
- Sweet and fruity; but not too much overall body right off the bat
- Cherry jumps to mind; but almost more of like a candied/cocktail cherry
- A bit floral, quite green
Steep Two – Ten Seconds
- More of an equal mix of flavour; cherry, floral (jasmine/peony), and sweet grass
- Underlying notes of coconut?
- Just a touch of astringency along my inner cheeks; pleasantly so at this point
Steep Three – Fifteen Seconds
- A little bit of a grassy sharp/sour quality in the top sip
- I suppose it’s a LITTLE BIT like under ripe banana?
- Still getting that sweet floral and cherry sort of thing though
- And a very creamy sort of soup in so far as mouthfeel
- Though unlike other reviewers I wouldn’t say it TASTES creamy???
Steep Four – Fifteen Seconds
- Cherry, jasmine, grass, coconut, butter???
- Hints of under ripe banana still
- Same astringency
- Maybe this buttery quality mixed w. the coconut it’s what being called “creamy/milky”
Steep Five -Twenty Seconds
- About the same as above
- Worth pointing out that this has still been quite light throughout
- No real “punchy” flavours at all
- Also, I know this is ‘light’ roasted but it doesn’t much taste roasted to me at all
Steep Five – Thirty Seconds
- No astringency in this sip at all
- Mostly a sweet, generic fruity sort of quality; a little flatter than previous steeps
- I might start stacking steeps now???
- There’s been no mind blowing flavour progression so I don’t see why not
Steep Six/Seven – Forty Seconds (each)
- Generic fruity/floral mix of typical greener oolong notes
- Very smooth, unimposing flavours
- Missing the more distinct cherry/coconut though
- A LITTLE MILKY IN THE UNDERTONE!?
- Kind of banana leaf like???
- Would be nice to drink whilst doing something else; like studying/cooking/etc.
Steep Eight/Nine – One Minute (each)
- Wow, ok this one is so close to just tasting like water…
- Slightly sweeter, kind of floral water…
- Yeah; calling this one done now I think
Ok, so thoughts overall:
I’m a little bit let down by this one in a few ways? For starters, the dry aroma was so beautiful and enticing, and those first few steeps seemed actually really promising but there’s absolutely no staying power to this tea – you get that very slight bump in flavour within the first three to four steeps and then it essentially flat lines? The rest is kind of my own fault for reading reviews before hand and kind of expecting certain flavours from the tea based on those reviews: some were there, but others were super absent and the ones that were present weren’t to the degree I’d let myself expect that they would be.
Positive notes – this was ultimately a very smooth session, if not a little boring, so I think this would be an excellent candidate for something to steep relatively mindlessly whilst doing something else. Plus, since it was a somewhat short lived tea/didn’t have a whole lot of staying power I think it’d work for times when you want to get that Gong Fu session in without making a commitment to like fifteen+ infusions.
And ultimately, there wasn’t anything ghastly/unpleasant about this tea; it was just kind of boring. Totally better than the fruit cakes I usually find myself presented with this time of year, though!