Friday, January 27, 2006

'old tree teacher's lot' phoenix bird oolong [private reserve] from

item O-PBO-PR
harvest: 2005
brewed for these notes: 060121

another of the high-end fenghuang dancongs from silk road teas. michael plant has also recently reviewed this tea.

brewing vessel: gaiwan, paired with aroma and tasting cups
dry leaf: big, straight noodles of twisted leaves, extremely dark green with some silvery grey tones
infused leaf: not much unfurling going on in the gaiwan; predictably, the green of the leaf becomes a somewhat more vivid green upon moistening, but still quite dark.

brewing parameters: 1 g tea : 1 oz water. the infusion times were as follows: INF1: 20s; INF2: 5s; INF3: 40s; INF4: 90s; INF5: 3 min.

what struck me most about this tea was the dramatic way in which the aroma increased along with steeping time. on the first two infusions it was what i would call 'faint' -- not at all arresting. beginning with INF3 it began to make a more assertive statement. INF5 was like being in a warm flower bed.

perhaps less surprising was the gradually darkening color. INF1 was pale pale gold with only the slightest tint of green. INF5 was a hearty tawny gold but, again, with only a very slight greenish hue.

as for the taste: this is a tea i would drink primarily for the aftertaste, which is distinctly like peaches. it is also tenacious [lasting many minutes after the tea was consumed] and yet extraordinarily delicate. astringency is very low; only INF3 had any sharpness to it, and i attribute this to the sharp increase in brewing time. i'm inclined to tweak these parameters somewhat in future, so that INF2 is not quite so short and INF3, 4 and maybe 5 not so long.

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