This was another of my recent sipdowns. It was also a tea that was nothing like I expected it to be. Many of the other Yunnan wild arbor assamicas I have tried have been assertive, challenging teas with tremendous presence both on the nose and in the mouth, but this tea was much subtler and smoother. It offered a very mellow drinking experience.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 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, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of honey, cocoa, cedar, malt, raisin, butter, and tobacco. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of prune, hay, smoke, cinnamon, and geranium. The first infusion introduced aromas of orange zest and eucalyptus. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, cream, raisin, cinnamon, cedar, prune, and geranium that were balanced by hints of eucalyptus, butter, roasted almond, smoke, minerals, orange zest, and tobacco. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of camphor, roasted almond, caraway, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately present notes of butter, minerals, orange zest, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth alongside notes of cream, camphor, oats, grass, hay, green bell pepper, black pepper, lemon zest, honey, and caraway. I also noted subtle hints of cocoa and steamed milk. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to offer notes of minerals, malt, lemon zest, geranium, orange zest, and hay that were complimented by hints of tobacco, raisin, black pepper, cinnamon, butter, and honey.
This was an odd tea for me. I greatly enjoyed the aromas and flavors it offered, but I found that it was a bit lacking in body and texture as the mouthfeel of the tea liquor was rather thin and did not change much over the course of my drinking session. The aromas and flavors this tea offered also came off as rather muted compared to the other Yunnan wild arbor black teas I have tried. People who are into very smooth, mellow black teas would probably enjoy this one a great deal, but people who enjoy heavier, more robust teas would probably be somewhat disappointed. Your enjoyment of this tea will also clearly depend on how much you enjoy Yi Wu teas in general. Personally, I have never really gravitated towards Yi Wu stuff, so this tea was probably not going to be for someone like me anyway.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Orange Zest, Raisins, Smoke, Tobacco