Review of Xin Chang Long Jing Impérial

10 of 105 of 53 of 596 of 100

I took the dégustation comparée (comparative tasting) of three green teas of a higher quality. This is one of the three I was served.
I got a zhong with dry leaves in it, a small cup, and a thermos of water.

This tea has an intense sweet, vegetal, almost savoury aroma that immediately struck me. It has a much stronger, more noticeable aroma than most green teas. The liqueur is bright green.

First steeping: Possibly umami? It reminds me of something (maybe a vegetable) but I don't know what.
Second steeping: The flavour is less intense, but still amazing. The aroma is also less strong.
Third steeping: The aroma has almost entirely disappeared. It tastes a bit like De Theefabriek's Lung Ching. I keep wondering what it reminds me of.
Fourth steeping: Fresh and vegetal. Puzzlingly, it reminds me of Young Hyson.
Fifth steeping: I was curious what other surprises this tea holds, and I was not disappointed: the colour has disappeared and I can't smell it anymore, but the flavour changed completely. It had the "smouldering" quality of my favourite Vietnamese teas!
Sixth steeping: Smouldering and sweet like De Theefabriek's Pin Ho Jade. It has a fresh, almost minty aftertaste. The vegetal flavour that struck me at first is gone now.
Seventh steeping: Still smouldering, also sweet fruity notes of Simon Lévelt's Yen Bai Groen.
Eighth steeping: There's a hint of vegetal aroma again. The smouldering is fading and it's very sweet now.
Ninth steeping: The smouldering is back and stronger than in the previous steeping. Extremely sweet.

At this point I stopped so I'd have enough water left for the third tea I was tasting. I'd already asked for more water once and I didn't dare ask for a third thermos of water.
I steeped it for 30-45 seconds each time. I think the water they gave me was about 100°C.

It is clearly vastly superior to De Theefabriek's Lung Ching, as expected. The aroma and flavour blew me away, especially in the beginning, and the changing flavour was surprising. I caved in and bought 50 grams for €19.90, which is roughly eight times as expensive as the teas I usually drink.

A few weeks after buying it, I finally gathered the courage to prepare this tea at home; the best approximation of the way I drank it in UNAMI that I can achieve with things I have.
I won't run through every steeping again, but I'd just like to note a few things: The colour of the leaves surprised me. Dry, they are greener than most teas. After the first steeping or two, the leaves are positively vibrant. The colour of the liqueur surprised me, too. I didn't remember it being so green. I'm so used to green teas that brew yellow to yellowish green that this seemed almost bluish green by comparison. The colour may not be a big deal to others, but I love pretty-coloured teas.
It still has the strong vegetal aroma in the first four steepings, and after that the taste changes again. This time I'm not sure if I'd describe it as smouldering, but more like caramel.

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