I’m dipping into the backlog with this review. I finished a sample pouch of this tea late last week, but as I have not had consistent access to a computer, I have held off on posting a review of it until now. I tried another of What-Cha’s Harendong Jin Xuans last month and found it enjoyable. Since I have been a fan of the very few Indonesian oolongs I have tried and was curious to see how a dark roasted version of the previous tea held up, I dug out the sample of this tea and spent a good chunk of a day contemplating it. Of the two, this one was the clear winner in my eyes, but then again, I am willing to bet that I am more of a fan of the more heavily roasted Jin Xuans than many other people on Steepster.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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, I detected aromas of honey, raisin, and plum coming from the dry tea leaves. There was something of a woody quality on the nose as well. The rinse brought out a stronger wood scent as well as new aromas of char, peach, and orchid. The first proper infusion then brought out a baked bread aroma. In the mouth, the liquor offered smooth notes of raisin, plum, and peach underscored by indistinct berry tones on the entry. These notes soon gave way to hints of orchid, char, wood, cream, and honey. Subsequent infusions brought out the orchid on the nose and I began to pick up somewhat stronger notes of char, wood, honey, and cream in the mouth. New impressions of vanilla, minerals, dried blueberry, and black raspberry emerged alongside hints of grass, cooked greens, toasted grain, brown toast, and coffee. The later infusions offered lingering notes of minerals, cream, wood, and char balanced by fleeting hints of vanilla and coffee with occasional traces of honey and fruit sweetness after the swallow.
As dark roasted Jin Xuans go, this was very nice. It displayed admirable longevity over the course of a gongfu session as well as very respectable depth and complexity both on the nose and in the mouth. The body and texture of the tea liquor were both very satisfying, as the liquor displayed an appealing smoothness while still feeling substantial in the mouth. If you are at all interested in more heavily roasted oolongs, I am willing to bet that you will find a lot to love in this tea. Even if your preferences when it comes to oolongs run more toward the greener side of things, I will assert that this tea would still be worth a try for you.
Flavors: Blueberry, Brown Toast, Char, Coffee, Cream, Grain, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Plum, Raisins, Raspberry, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood