Friday, September 11, 2015

Dachi Tea: No 5 Verdant Valley Oolong, A Tea Review

Guys, I think next month I a going to break down and buy a camera. This saddens me for a few reasons, the first one being the death of a friend, see my camera was a gift from Ben when we were at Unistar. I was using a really crap camera to do nature photography, and more importantly to catalog all the fungi on this weird island to write a field guide. I needed a better camera desperately, so five years ago I got my Fujifilm S1800, my baby. But it is dying, after years of much love, and it is time to move on, I was hoping to get a super fancy one with the ability to switch out lenses, actually photograph lightning, and all those bells and whistles, but they are not cheap, that is like 'save all my money for a year' kinda new electronic. So I am compromising and going to probably get a Fujifilm S8630, it will take all my money next month (I swear I am never going to get new clothes after that dryer incident...priorities man, I has them) and will be great for my blog photography and basic nature photography. Compromises are not always bad!
Ok, enough about electronics, tea time! Today I a looking at Dachi Tea's No 5 Verdant Valley Oolong, a Baozhong from beautiful Taiwan, just east of Taipei actually. If you get the chance, you should check out the website for this tea, it has a great aesthetic, but more importantly, it tells information about the tea and its grower, including a video interviewing Mr. Weng and showing the process of making the tea. If you are like me and find this stuff just wonderfully fascinating, then trust me, it is worth a look. Ah, Baozhong, this tea is a notorious flowery explosion, and these leaves do not disappoint. The aroma starts out with sweet honey and flower nectar, lots of spring flower notes of hyacinth, lilac, and a touch of honeysuckles. Along with the spring flowers is a gentle note of broken sweet hay and a tiny touch of nuttiness. 

Brewing this tea is a lovely sensory experience, it is like spring wafting out of my teapot, fresh broken green vegetation (much like walking through a garden and gently crushing leaves as you walk) and of course flowers, hyacinth, lilac, and even a touch of slightly spicy Asiatic lily at the finish. The liquid is very sweet, a blend of honey and flower nectar and buttery green growth. It has a freshness to it, which is very evocative of springtime.

The first steep is smooth and buttery in its mouthfeel, it is refreshingly smooth without being thick. The taste starts out predictably sweet and floral, with strong notes of lilac and hyacinth. This initial flowery burst transitions to refreshing green vegetation, like crushed leaves and grass, with a slight vegetal buttery note. The finish is honey and it lingers for a while.

Typing with a lap full of a cold cat is hard. just a word to the wise. The aroma of the second steep is heady but light, it is like walking through my local formal garden at spring, so many hyacinths and lilacs blooming, I even get a bit of daffodil and lily as well. The taste is very rich, creamy and thick mouthfeel, and so sweet. There are notes of sweet honey and flower nectar, I feel like a butterfly drinking this stuff. The flowery notes moves to a slightly mineral spring rain storm and lush vegetation at the midtaste, with a finish of honey sweetness.

Third steeping time! Espeon is now using my notebook as a pillow, luckily not on the page I am trying to read! The aroma is buttery vegetation and flowery intensity, heady with all the blossoms, I feel like sinking into a bed of hyacinths and taking a nap surrounded by bees and butterflies. I am not a Disney princess, I swear. The taste this time is focusing on the green aspect of the tea, crushed rain covered vegetation and freshly harvested hay and straw. The finish is sweet and honey, with a lingering floral note. Usually I find Baozhong kinda fizzles out after four or so steeps, I ended up sitting with this one for a while, not sure if because this Baozhong was fresher or if it is a testament to its quality.

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