Competition Grade Tie Guan Yin?
When I first got into tea, I started shopping with Yunnan Sourcing. I was really interested in oolongs, so I went to their selection and started looking around. Since I have heard many stories of ‘bad oolong’, I didn’t want one of my first experiences with it to be a poor one. So what did I do? I bought one of Yunnan Sourcing’s most expensive oolongs: Competition Grade Tie Guan Yin of the Gande Village. When I first tried it, I fell head over heels for it and ended up ordering more.
Since my first experience with that oolong, its been nearly two years since I’ve had the change to revisit it. Thankfully, Yunnan Sourcing sent me a small sample of the ‘up to date’ version of this oolong — the Autumn 2017 harvest to be exact. Since it’s been so long since I’ve had this oolong, I was apprehensive to drink it again because I’ve had so many pleasurable oolong experiences prior to now. So I must ask, was this tea as wonderful as I remember, or was it a disappointment? Let's dig in!
Water Temperature - 185ºf
Dimensions - 4.5g of tea for a 90ml vessel
Price Per Gram - $0.78
Steeps 1 - 6
For this session, I started out with a thirty-second steep and got my first brew. At first, the prominent taste of freshly cut green grass hit the base of the tongue and left a sweet sugar snap pea aftertaste in the back of the throat. After a few more steeps, this oolong was fully opened up which brought up a faint, yet brilliant taste of melon. By the end of the sixth infusion, a faint floral finish of gardenia appeared.
Steeps 7 - 12
By the seventh steep, this oolong’s texture was thick and full of life. The hints of gardenia grew stronger and stronger and mixed beautifully with the base of freshly cut green grass. However, by the eighth steep, this tea’s body began to thin out a bit as the notes of sugar snap peas and melon began to fade away; only leaving the floral notes. By the twelfth steep, this oolong decided it was finished and was time to be put away…
To start, this Competition Grade Tie Guan Yin first started out very grassy and tasted very fresh. As the session went on, the tasting notes grew complex in many different ways. Halfway through the session, this tea’s texture seemed to keep thickening, and lasted until the twelfth infusion. One thing I liked about this oolong was how aromatic it was, and how this teas aroma made my mouth water. Another thing I liked about this oolong is its complexity and wide array of tasting notes.
Overall, I think Yunnan Sourcing did a fantastic job at sourcing this oolong. While I remember the spring version being more complex, the fall version was still tasty nonetheless. I would recommend this oolong to anyone who is into greener teas, especially oolong enthusiasts. Next time when I drink this Tie Guan Yin, I’ll be reminded of fond memories from when I first started drinking tea, as this tea has secured a slice of real-estate in my heart…