Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What-Cha: Thailand Winter Frost Jin Xuan Oolong Tea, A Tea Review

Well, I finally got an email from Fujifilm, they plan to have my camera fixed and shipped back in ten days. Ugh, waiting sucks! I am pretty sure everything is going to be covered by my warranty and such, and Ben is telling me not to worry too much because he will make sure things get handled, I just miss my camera. While it is away on its little vacation, I am only drinking teas I have logged notes for in my notebook pile and photographed, basically time for a giant sip-down.

Today's tea from What-Cha is a bit of a magical one, or at least I think it is, Thailand Winter Frost Jin Xuan Oolong Tea. This fancy Jin Xuan is picked during the cold time of the year, allowing the leaves to be covered in frost causing the leaves to turn brown which changes the taste of the tea. Like bug-bitten teas but being bit by Jack Frost! Ok, I admit it, I have a thing for ice and frost, I want to be like Sub-Zero and learn Cryomancy, but since I can't I get my magical frosty fix elsewhere. Also known as Hoarfrost Tea or Dong Pian (winter flake) this tea is quite fascinating, and currently seasonal! The aroma of the dry leaves is surprisingly fruity (unlike what I usually expect from a creamy Jin Xuan) with notes of nectarine, honeydew, and orange blossoms. Along with the fruit (and fruit flower) is honey and a touch of chestnut and a finish of gentle vegetation. This tea smells immensely sweet, and not really like winter, but that is not surprising.

Into the gaiwan the leaves go! The aroma of the now soggy and slowly unfurling leaves is a combination of necatrine and honeydew melon with a strange slightly rank undertone, it reminds me ever so slightly of rotten fruit being both sickly and sweet. The liquid is all sweetness, very citrus with notes of nectarines and oranges with orange blossom and honeysuckles.

The first steep is pleasantly mild, it starts with a gentle mineral note that transistions to sweet cream and then BOOM! Nectarines! it is like I bit into a juicy sweet nectarine (a warm one, mind you) it is smooth and a little citric sharp and immensely sweet. I love tangerines, they might be my favorite citrus (other than lemons, but I eat them wayyy differently than more orange-like citrus, I cover my lemons in salt) so having a note so reminiscent of tangerine in a tea is delightful.

Second steeping time, the aroma of the kinda rank fruit leaks into the aroma of the liquid this time, though giving it a good sniff, it isn't rotting fruit...it is one of those more foul smelling orchids. Not the rotten meat orchid, but certainly one of the ones that smell like a weird mixture of honey and decay. Of course there are also notes of nectarines, and a tiny hint of cinnamon which adds a level of warmth. The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth, a slight sharpness reminiscent of biting into a citrus fruit. The taste is light and buttery with a blend of nectarine and gentle honey, it is sweet and very light, an especially gentle Oolong.

For the aroma of the third steeping, there is only a little bit of that slightly rank orchid, along with honey and nectarines. The mouthfeel starts out smooth and ends with a crispness, like biting into a pile of lettuce. Tasting starts with gentle sweet honey and spice with sweet nectarine juiciness, this moves to a slight hint of cream and spice, and the finish is lettuce (specifically butterhead if you want to know the varietal) with a light aftertaste of nectarine. This tea was very light and pretty much always sweet, I admit the rank orchid aroma was a little off putting, but since it did not show up at all in the taste it was easy to overlook, similar to how I have run into a Sheng puerh that smells like a barn floor but tastes nothing like one, which is always a relief.
This tea was purchased by me.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, I might have to check this out. I have had Jin Xuan from Taiwan (of course), but also some grown in Fujian. The Fujian was processed more like a traditional Chinese oolong, so darker, a mild roast. It did not taste at all like a Taiwan Jin Xuan, but not sure if it works compared to a good Tieguanyin for the Fujian one.

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