Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yezi Tea: Tie Guan Yin Master Grade Oolong, A Tea Review

Today has been a beautiful day with regards to weather; all day rain, 60 degree air, humid, and a chance for storms. Or at least Accuweather says it is a chance for storms, severe ones with 'a tornado' yes folks, we only get one. I am not sure why I find their wording on their severe weather warning so amusing, but it always makes me smile. On the health front I am still improving, but my taste is still odd so more from the delightful tea notebook today.
Tightly woven leaves.
Tie Guan Yin Master Grade Oolong Tea from Yezi Tea is an Oolong from the famed tea growing region of the Nanhu Mountain Range. To brew this beauty I decided to go all out, sitting outside on a warm sunny day with my Yixing pot, my vintage Chinese tea bowl, and all my fancy Gong Fu tools. I don't use my Yixing nearly as often as I would like to, something I plan on rectifying in the future. The aroma of this Tie Guan Yin is nothing short of heavenly, very floral and sweet. I mainly notice orchids and honeysuckles but for an extra treat I can pick out the aroma of scuppernongs. As an afterthought there is a tiny wisp of green, similar to spring time vegetation and an even more scant ghost of honey. This tea's aroma very much so embodies ideal of Spring.
Steeping peacefully
I was very fortunate to get multiple awesome steeps out of this tea, so I will start with the first soaking of the leaves. The aroma of the brewed leaves is slightly nutty with strong floral notes. There is also a tiny hint of a roasted aroma in the leaves. The liquid is mostly floral, primarily orchid, but there is also a slight hint of vegetal, like spinach. The taste is very smooth and mild! Intensely floral like honeysuckles or possibly lilacs. The tea tastes very clean and fresh, just like a tiny bit of spring time in my mouth. The aftertaste is one of orchids.
Looks like sunlight
The second steep brings in more of a roasted aroma to leaves and a stronger floral aroma to the liquid. The taste of the tea brings in more of a green, vegetal tone. Somehow the tea seems cleaner, like it purifies the water. It reminds me of fresh spring water with a tiny taste of the moss growing near it. Having drank from a mountain spring (it was significantly colder than hot tea) the similarity is surprising.
Hello leaves!
The third steep brings in even more of a roasted chestnut aroma and it is very heady. The liquid has the aroma of orchids, but instead of being freshly opened these are orchids that have been sitting in the sun for hours and start to have that old flower sickly sweetness. The taste is intense! Best steep of the set, it manages to be intense but still mild (ah the magic of Oolongs) the flavor is mildly roasted chestnut at first and then it fills your mouth with intense orchid. The aftertaste is mineral-like, bringing in the mountain spring imagery from the previous steep.
I almost drank it all before I took a photo!
The fourth and final steep, I notice that the leaves have lost most their aroma but what is left is sweet and evocative of honeysuckle. The taste is sweet and floral bringing out the honeysuckle notes that were in the aroma. There is also a slight mid taste of roasted chestnut and then lastly an aftertaste of mineral spring water. This tea was fascinating and very enjoyable, it was like I journeyed through early Spring with the first steep and traveled through to Midsummer. I recommend seeking this tea out if you want a very different experience with each steep.
All unfolded, the journey of the leaf is awesome. 


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