dreaming technicolor tea
Okie doke, I tried the Adagio M.S. Fujian TKY again. I don't know what was up with the "potato" batch, but this batch was definitely different. It was a much better tea, with floral notes. Unfortunately, because of the "yuck factor" on the last batch, I kept getting a kind of ghost of the fermented chemical/potato aroma, (which I'm not entirely convinced isn't actually there,) and it was difficult to overcome the negative expectation. I have enough here for another session or two, so I can see if (lacking that anticipation,) my opinion continues to improve.
I have to admit though, this is another "premium tea" that I personally don't feel deserves the category. It's beautiful before brewing, possibly the most attractive pile of dry leaves I've seen. But the dry aroma is only detectable from a few inches away which makes me wonder how "new" this tea is, due to (what seems to be) significant loss of the essential oils that should give the leaves their aroma.
I felt this tea didn't begin to show "premium" characteristics until the 4th steep, when it finally began to develop some depth and lose the harsh tones. Sadly, it gave out after the 6th steep, when tea color just didn't come out before water had cooled to lukewarm. It makes me wonder how this tea would do with cold-brewing, but at $200/lb, it's far too expensive to try.
My expectations were very high for this tea. At this price point, I wanted it to be as good as teas I've experienced and purchased locally from FLT, SA, NCTG, (in a similar price range,) as well as samples received from teamasters, fellow Teachatters, etc. I'd like to believe that, instead of being a lackluster listing for the "Master's Series," that I'm just having an off-week brewing, but I'm not convinced this is true.*
Especially since others on this tasting round have indicated that they felt this TKY was a very fine sampling, I'm wondering why my experience was so different from people I consider to have similar tea "taste" to my own.
Brewed in 100ml gaiwan, 5g tea, 205 deg flash rinse, rested 2 minutes, 1st steep 190 deg, 30 sec, 2nd steep 190 deg 20 sec, 3rd steep 200+deg timed to color, etc. (On Toki's recommendation for greener oolongs, I've lately lowered the temperature of my first couple of steeps.)
*I don't think it's some strange tweak in my brewing, because at the moment I'm enjoying the Adagio MS AliShan, and finding it quite nice - nice enough I would spend my teabucks on it.