Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2009 High-roasted Tie Guan Yin from Jkteashop.com!

From my past notes of tea on this blog you may have noticed that its been pretty much green oolongs and not much else. Green Oolongs are probably my favorite genre of tea, especially in the summer months. I have been getting a little bored with the floral notes of green oolongs so Ive decided to look around for something different in the massive category of Oolong.
Bottom of sample bag--DARK CHA!
My first order from JKTeaShop(JKTS) was a "sample" order of various teas that I was interested in trying. JKTS has the option of ordering a sample, about ~15g, of all their teas that they offer for very cheap.($1.50-$5.00 a sample) This is a great option for people who haven't had a style of tea and cant afford to buy 2-5oz of a tea they don't know if they will like. I ended up getting lots of Wuyi teas as well as various other teas. One tea out of the samples I ordered that really lured me in was the 2009 High Roasted Tie Guan Yin. Ive never liked any of the high roasted teas Ive tried but the smell of the dry leaves of this tea is hypnotic  I'm getting notes of chocolate, caramel, and a possibly a hint of coffee out of the bag! My mouth is watering from just smelling the cha.
As always, I weigh out 5g and toss it into my warmed houhin/gaiwan and the dry leaf notes are amplified! Its reminding me of cake and sweets. It makes me wonder why I was giving the cold shoulder to such an amazing genre of tea. On to the brewing notes!
2nd Steeping
To start off I did a flash rinse. The color of the water was pretty dark so I decided to take the flash steeping route. The first infusion was 10 sec and produced a beautiful dark translucent liquor. The flavor is a little light in this infusion. I'm getting a caramel/brown sugar sweetness but its only slightly there. I'm craving more flavor out of this tea so I take the time of infusion up to 30 sec on the second infusion. In hindsight, this is the starting time I should have used. Flavor is about 50% more than the first infusion and I'm absolutely loving it. I would like the flavor to be a little more but for an unflavored tea, this is a beautifully sweet complex treasure. Very sweet caramel notes are coming through with a hint of something I cant quite place ... is it coffee or cake... After thinking for a bit I decided it was a roasted malt flavor one would taste in the grains used for making a dark beer. Its certainly a fantastic tea for an after dinner sweetness. Next infusion(3rd) was for 45 seconds with freshly boiled water. Absolutely delicious brew. Lots of sweetness and a complex roasty malted caramel chocolate swirl of flavor on your tongue... I regret not buying a bag as big as my room. I'm in love with this tea. The next infusion(4th) brings less sweetness but is still an enjoyable cup as it still has some of the attractive qualities of the 2nd infusion just less flavor. The 5th infusion is getting to the point of being too light for me. Although, I am picking up a new flavor/aroma. In this cup I'm getting a slight sweet cigar smell that is reminiscent of an Acid Blond, one of my favorite cigars! Unfortunately the flavor is so light I cant get overly excited. I decided to take the leaves two more infusions so see what else was hiding. Apparently nothing, the tea has given up like an obese person trying to run a marathon. The two latter infusion brought nothing more than a slightly tinged water.

Delicious Tea!
After thoroughly enjoying a session with this wonder tea I went on to JKTS to order as much as my tea budget would allow. After searching around I wasnt able to find the tea. After an email to JKTS, I found out that the 2009 tea was gone but they have a much better "2011" High Roasted for the same price. Well crap...Despite not being able to get it anymore, I was completely blown away with this tea. I wasn't expecting such a complex sweet offering from something that I wasn't expecting to enjoy. I know now not to judge a tea by its color or roast!