An AWFULLY long time ago I gave you some information about our “H” tea – Huang Zhi Xiang.
The dry leaves….
Were relatively large and beautifully rolled into even, slightly – twisted fine stripes, that were a dark brownish- green. The color of the leaves reminded me of army camouflage – random splotches of army green, brown and gray. They had an aroma of roasted fruit- orange for sure, but also there was this slight, distant, soft whisper of flowers… gardenia?
Brewing…” Awaken” the Leaves
Something to be aware of before steeping… Oolongs are traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped. This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately discarded. The rinse water is not drunk – its purpose is to help the leaves begin to open during steeping. Oolongs exemplify the concept that some teas can be re-steeped multiple times and that with each new steep, new flavors and experiences await you. This idea works best when the leaves are steeped in a small vessel, such as a gaiwan.
That being said, I used a gaiwan, with about 5-6 grams of leaves. The water temperature was 205 degrees Fahrenheit. After discarding the rinse water, my first steep was just one minute. For each additional infusion, I added 10- 15 seconds. A shorter brew times allows the leaves to open slowly with each infusion, allowing for additional infusions.
Remember… Most oolong teas have overly complex flavors that changes from steep to steep, so don’t throw away first initial steeped tea leaves!
In my cup…
The 1st Steep: WOW! Very, very pleasing- what a treat! An exotic, honey colored golden cup, that presented gentle, understated flowery aromas, paired that same fruity smell that I noticed in the dry leaves. With each swallow, there was this smooth feel, coupled with long -lasting creamy fruity and flowery flavors- soft stone fruits- peach and apricot pits and fuller, decadent sweetness of orange blossoms and maybe even some honeysuckle at the back, with a hint of honey aftertaste. With each additional steep, the floral/fruity notes faded, and a vegetal sweetness ripened, that was slightly astringent.
A complex, intense, long lasting, exotic cup with flowery/fruity aromas. A mouth -watering delight that permeates through the mouth and throat with long- lasting flavors and a lubricating mouthfeel. A lingering after taste, that supported those original roasted fruits of oranges, apricots, and subtle peach notes. Everything you would ever want… from the dry leaf to the spent leaf, there was a rich, lush abundance of fruit, together with floral notes that added sweetness. Put it all together and here was a cup of amazing structure! A refreshing and multifaceted tea, a must try for any oolong lover. This was a 5 +++++.
All teas will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 for dislike and 5 as love:
- Dislike (I didn’t like the tea and would not repurchase)
- Passable (I didn’t dislike the tea, but I didn’t think it was very good)
- Average (I didn’t find it good or bad and would drink it again)
- Good (I liked it but it and may repurchase)
- Love (I enjoyed it lot and would repurchase)