Sorry for the delay. Today I finally re-opened the package of curated samples MarshalN sent to me and was reminded that there are actually seven packets: 0, 15, 30, 45, 59, 59, X. The extra 59 and X, a low grade TGY are benchmarks for comparison.
For the first test between 0 hours and 15 hours of roasting using purified water at 195°F, I started out just brewing in some tiny plain rice bowls to get a clear comparison of the leaves and the liquor. But I quickly pulled out two gaiwan as I realized the water was cooling too fast to properly brew the tea.At 0 hours, the leaves produce liquor that smells and tastes just like vegetable or seaweed soap. My mom had a taste and it reminded her of when she was a kid in the countryside. They would take the leaves from some plant, boiled and rubbed it until the oils came out and then used it for shampoo! To me, it just tastes like any other green wulong, but much yummier than the usual aggressive nuclear tieguanyin I’ve come across. The liquor is smooth and clean with vegetal notes on top and some floral in the mouth. You can tell it’s good raw material.At 15 hours, I am a pretty satisfied tea drinker. I don’t really taste any roasting until the tea cools down. Otherwise, the tea is delicious with fruity cereal notes.
I notice the roasted leaves open a lot slower than the unroasted leaves, which suck up all the water if I don’t pour from the gaiwan soon enough. After four steeps, I’ve had enough of the 0 hr leaves but want to take some more time with the 15 hr roast. However, by the fifth steep the 15 hr is only yielding weak tea water although the leaves haven’t completely opened.
At this point I would like to compare with the final product at 59 hours so I will clean my palate with some plain water, rinse my gaiwan, wash my face with the leftover green leaves….
Back to our regularly scheduled program, here is what the 59 hr looks like.
Not a straight comparison, but this is what the 59 hr after two steeps looks like next to the 15 hr after five steeps.
The roasting smell is definitely more evident in the 59 hr leaves but it’s not overpowering. Honestly, the first rinse smells to me like peepee or public restrooms in China but I will carry on. I can taste the roasting, the taste of burnt stuff. Nonetheless the liquor overall is very clean, slightly sweet tasting and goes down smooth and creamy. I’m having mixed feelings about this 59 hr roast. It reminds me of toilet but not so bad that I want to stop drinking. Maybe it will get better if I keep drinking?
Ok, third steep is much better. It’s starting to smell less like pee and more like…chocolate/coffee? Yes, it reminds me a little of the hongshui wulong I ordered from TeaMasters awhile back that I have yet to review. There is some bitterness coming out now that eventually gives way to a savory sweet aftertaste, making my mouth water.
I think I could get better results using more leaf and a slightly higher temperature. Next time~