Review of Tie Guan Yin traditional charcoal roast Master Grade

10 of 105 of 55 of 5100 of 100

(2009 Harvest) This is an impressive tea, and the first perfect rating I've ever given here. Life in Teacup provided me with a sample generous enough to experiment a bit with brewing.

This tea is so intensely flavorful and aromatic, that I settled on using a little less than 1 teaspoon of leaf, and brewed four infusions. True connoisseurs will probably prefer gong fu brewing and will undoubtedly be able to stretch this tea into many more infusions. But this was my experience:

1st: (90 sec.) Very strong roasted aroma, yet upon drinking, fresh herbal tones emerge, like celery, and light spices like coriander. Exceptionally clean taste. No roast in the finish, and overall, less roasted character and greener character than I expected from the initial aroma and dark color of the dry leaf.

2nd: (90 sec.) warm, honey-like character, with a hint of grain. More floral, barely any hint of roast or the herbaceous tones from the 1st infusion. Flavor mellower, sweeter. A hint of wood. Very nuanced.

3rd: (2 min.) back to more herbaceous tones and fresh spice, more wood as well. Smooth, buttery finish. Good, and more flavorful overall than the second infusion, but less interesting than the first two infusions.

4th (4 min.) The leaves were losing flavor and were spent after this infusion. Roast and herbaceous tones mostly, a faint hint honey and grain. Mostly aroma: very mild flavor in this infusion.

Wow. Far more than worth the price. The cost-per-cup, brewing western-style, is surprisingly low as well.

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