Shui Xian Da Hong Pao (Yezi Tea)

I’m slowly getting through my samples. I’d heard about this tea – maybe in the context of how expensive it was – but I was primarily excited to try it because I’m very fascinated with the dark(er) side of oolong teas. (Honestly, it was that roasted tieguanyin at T Shop – ugh. Amazing.)

About 5g of dry leaves.

Amount: 5g
Temperature: <190F, probably closer to 180F
Water: 100-120 mL
Style: gongfu
Method: rinse for ~10s; start at 45s then increase by 15s each time

I wish I could do something about the water temp. Our hot water dispenser that claims 190F water but really dispenses 180F water. And then, if it’s in my thermos, it loses heat, too. I wonder how much a difference in water temperature really  makes? I might be able to get hotter water with my electric kettle at my dorm – it reaches boiling point and then cools down a bit, I think. Hotter than this water, anyway.

For some reason, after the rinse, the leaves smelled very… hmm. I wrote down the word rude because it was the only word that came to mind, though I realize that’s not an aroma. The antithesis of sweet, maybe. Like if sweet is inviting to the drinker, then rude is like, this is the smell and if you don’t like then go away. Which then makes the tea akin to one of those preteen writers who posts fanfiction online and says at the top of the chapter, DON’T LIKE, DON’T READ!!!!!!!!!

Errrr. I guess I’m saying is, the aroma was interesting, but not that inviting.

Leaves: dark dark green after the rinse, like blackened steamed spinach that’s been microwaved several times after being ignored at subsequent leftovers meals. This may or may not have made an appearance at my table.

(1) 45s. Small leaves, a bit hard to pour gaiwan. Smooth, earthy – wet leaves taste, wet oak log

(2) 60s. Beautiful saffron color tea, very clear. Full mouth taste. Has that wonderful lingering aftertaste in the mouth that I’m beginning to associate with darker teas.

(3-4) 75s, 90s. The tea leaves a kind of mushroom wood taste in your mouth. Not mushroom taste, but the old, wet, raindamp logs you find when you’re hiking in a forest. The ones with orange and copper and pale mushrooms peering out from the side.


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