2013 Cui Luan, light roast, wulong from Origin (OTTI 19):
(4+ grams brewed (the dry, green nuggets were not as fragrant as other Lishan I have from my last trip to Taiwan) in a 70ml Bero, red clay pot, drank in Lin's glazed tea cups, accompanied by smell cups to really experience the aromas, with 95deg. C Shacklee filtered water, brewed in a Bonavita stainless kettle)
For this tea I brewed in the style of my teacher in Taiwan attempting four, formally poured, "perfect" rounds, attempting even clarity, color, and graduation of flavor/aroma with no "flat" rounds, and no overloading of the pot with leaves.
I preheated all the vessels. After preheating I cracked the pot lid slightly (so as not to allow the steam and heat to escape) and loaded the leaves, waterless, into the heated pot to "bake" and allow a subtle, pre-wash/rinse awakening of the leaves. After 45 seconds I opened the pot lid to breathe in the rich aromas of the tea (quite different than dry leaf or post-rinse leaf scents (notes of pear and applesauce)). In my experience, this stage is where the leaves reveal their truest scent profile.
I then gave a 10 sec. rinse of the "baked" leaves followed by about a minute wait to let the leaves open slightly. Then came the addition of hot water to the pot.
1st= 2:30 seconds: (I used a timer so that I could really see where the tea was at and record it for the OTTI (I don't always use a timer.)) The smell cup lingered and lingered; I just stayed there with my nose in the cup, rather happily buried in the cup.
The attack for me was of fruit, followed by a lasting, pillowy sweetness, with cereal notes and a rich throat.
2nd= 2:20 seconds: Amazingly fragrant cup, similar to the first but this round a greater dry, balanced astringency comes out along with pronounced buttery nasal aroma
3rd= 3:30 seconds: Best round! Again, amazingly fragrant. This round the throat linger really comes alive; it lingers and lingers. Perfect hui gan.
4th= 5:30 seconds: Dry continues to increase, subtle grassy notes accompanied by a bright floral and continuing linger in the nose, mouth, throat.
I continue on with other rounds because the tea is still alive. However my emphasis was mainly on the first four rounds as if I was being tested by my teacher, imagining what I needed to produce if I were pouring for him to exhibit the characteristics of the tea.
Post-pour: The limp leaves are still fragrant. Inspecting them, the quality is apparent. Almost every nugget seems to have unfurled into a good sized stem with 3 to 4 leaves, one of which is a bud. The leaf edges are solid and and not torn and look to have been prepared very well. Rubbing them, they do not disintegrate, even with the longer steep times I used.
All in all, a very nice experience.