Alright, I’m back again. I’m still struggling with motivation it seems. When I do manage to get some free time, I never seem to want to do much on Steepster. Of course, I have also been in a generally terrible mood for like the last four or five months, so it’s probably a good thing that I don’t seek out any form of social interaction regularly. Anyway, that’s enough of me being a lazy sourpuss. Let’s get on to the tea review. This is another golden oldie of mine. I think I finished my pouch of this tea back in either January or February of this year. I found it to be an excellent winter Dancong oolong.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orange blossom, orchid, vanilla, cream, custard, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of violet, lemon candy, grass, baked bread, and toasted corn. The first infusion introduced a rather subtle gardenia scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orange blossom, orchid, grass, gardenia, cream, butter, and roasted almond that were chased by subtler impressions of vanilla, baked bread, toasted corn, sugarcane, pear, and peach. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange zest, earth, pear, steamed milk, green apple, sour cherry, butter, coriander, roasted almond, and spinach. Impressions of lemon candy, violet, and custard came out in the mouth alongside stronger notes of baked bread, vanilla, toasted corn, pear, peach, and green apple. Impressions of minerals, sour cherry, orange zest, white grape, earth, steamed milk, coriander, and wood also made themselves known. In addition to these new flavors, I could also pick up some hints of plum, spinach, and pomegranate as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cream, butter, earth, wood, grass, and coriander that were balanced by lingering hints of vanilla, baked bread, green apple, lemon candy, spinach, sugarcane, orange zest, sour cherry, and pear.
This was really not what I was expecting of a Ya Shi Xiang. I often find such teas grainy, gritty, nutty, and earthy, and while a lot of those characteristics were present, this tea emphasized floral, vegetal, fruity, and smooth, creamy qualities. It was incredibly easy to drink and very approachable. If I had not known this was a Ya Shi Xiang going into my review session, I doubt I would have been able to identify it. Overall, this was a great Dancong oolong. I could see a tea like this going over well with people who often find Dancong oolongs to be too astringent or too volatile in how they express themselves.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Earth, Fruity, Gardenias, Grain, Grass, Green Apple, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood