Today I am drinking the Spring 2018 harvest of Que She 928 oolong from Yunnan Sourcing. When I placed 5 grams into a warmed 50ml gaiwan, and breathed in the aroma of the dry leaves, it smelled like a bakery: vanilla wafers and graham crackers with some brownies baking way in the back and on top of all of that you get the classic oxidized sweet tea smell. It was like some hipster bakery turning out matcha-infused sugar cookies. There are no smokey notes. Whoever roasted this did a masterful job.
After a quick rinse the bake shop closed its doors. Now the wet leaves had a strong sweet floral note like orchid and a green tea smell. I processed this both with short steeps and just off the boil water and with longer steeps with cooler water and up to 2 minutes long. They both are good, but I preferred the longer steeps. Even with long steeps, there was never any bitterness and no astringency — and I mean zero - not even a hint. I am curious to know how this would perform if done western style. It might be the best option. Another day. The mouthfeel was always very wet on this one. The color of the tea liquor is pale brownish-yellow-like a watered down honey color.
Taste reveals the da hong pao roots of this cultivar. I think of it as da hong pao light, and I prefer it over da hong pao. The roasting isn’t strong like da hong pao, but a lot of the same flavor and mineral tastes comes through. No matter how long it is steeped, it keeps that classic wu yi taste and never goes vegetal even though pushing it to 2 minutes, the leaves will smell somewhat like spinach, but it in no way ever gets into the taste of the tea.
I emptied the leaves to have a look, and unlike in the photos I usually see of Que She, this batch appears to have no leaves oxidized to the point or turning brown or brownish-purple leaves like you get with new growth, and there are no burnt leaves during roasting. All of these leaves were small, heavily serrated and dark green. The leaves would be camouflaged perfectly if in a serpentine gaiwan. Another enjoyable oolong from Yunnan Sourcing.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Floral, Graham Cracker, Green, Mineral, Orchid, Sweet, Vanilla