Out of all the teas that make up the Lübeck Haul, this was the one I was most pleased to get my mitts on, after wondering about it for quite some time.
I’d heard nothing but good things about the teas that come from the Zealong Tea Estate, and so when Mrs. Teaist found this packet at Lübecker Tee Kontor I was thrilled at the prospect of finally getting these leaves on my tea table.
The notes on the packaging describe the oxidization as “short and mild“, and the Zealong estate’s description of the tea notes that the leaves are unroasted, which explains why I’ve read reviews where this tea is described as being similar to a Tie Guan Yin. The pluck is described as a bud and two leaves.
After heating up the gaiwan, I dropped the leaves in the bowl, replaced the lid, and gave the gaiwan a few gentle shakes to warm and wake the leaves. Before adding the water for the first infusion I stuck my nose in the gaiwan and took a deep sniff. My conk was greeted with a floral aroma and something sweet and dairy like, almost similar to ice cream.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||6 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml porcelain gaiwan|
|No. & duration:||9 infusions of 20, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 70, 90, and 180 seconds duration.|
Those balls looked tightly rolled, so I gave them an initial 20 second steeping to assist in opening them up. It has to be noted that this is an exceptionally clean tea – almost no dust or tea debris was to be found in the tea strainer after that first round, or during the rest of the session for that matter.
The liquor was all sweetly pungent hot house flowers and vanilla ice cream, with a body that even at this early stage was shaping up to be an epic lip gummer upperer.
I’d planned to drop the infusion time for the second round down a tad, but seeing as the leaves hadn’t opened up all that much, I stuck with 20 seconds. That seemed to do the trick, and the balls really started to relax and unwind from the third round on.
Paradoxically, even though the intensity of the taste of the liquor naturally enough decreased throughout the session, the body only seemed to be gaining a little more “oomph” with each passing round.
Round about the sixth steeping mark the liquor started to noticeably tail off, and despite attempts to counter this by bumping up the infusion times we were all done after a final three minute long ninth infusion. The Zealong website states that you should be getting up to eight rounds from the leaves, so that seemed fair enough, although I was tempted to try to push on, wanting to tease out the maximum yield from the leaves given both the overall good quality of the liquor they were producing and their relatively high price!
After a couple of sessions with these leaves I can certainly see where other people were coming from with the Tie Guan Yin comparisons. If you fancy getting hold of this tea, then that’s the sort of thing you can expect in terms of taste, and what have you.
Zealong mention that this tea has “…won many international awards…“, and I can certainly see why.
It was well worth the wait. Good stuff.