When the October 2017 White2Tea club arrived I was not excited. Inside is 5 tieguanyins and these days I personally dislike nuclear green tieguanyins. Modern tieguanyin is the most commonly found basic oolong these days that tastes super green, vegetal, maybe floral flavor. I find there’s not enough depth, say compared to a high mountain oolong and traditional tieguanyin.
That said, this is the thing of monthly tea clubs – you can’t please everyone. I felt I got great personal value for what I got in November and December 2017, so I’m okay with whatever October throws at me. It did make me procrastinate a bunch of actually drinking it. However, there are expensive teas in this club.
For all teas, I used the entire 8 gram packet, steeped gongfu style with boiling water.
October 2017 White2Tea Club
Modern Tieguanyin Green Packet
I’m only steeping this as a reference to what current tieguanyin is like, as well as a comparison to the other teas. The dry leaf is super green and grassy floral scented. The hot leaf smells like mowed lawn and asparagus, which I find concerning.
I did 2 infusions and it tastes close to what it smells. This tieguanyin is strongly vegetal, asparagus, fresh bales of hay, slightly marine, with a herbal grassy, almost medicinal aftertaste. The body is slightly thick, like unset jello. There is a bad astringency popping up early. This whole experience has my sinuses clenching for a sneeze attack with the notes of fresh hay, which isn’t a great tea experience.
My theory on why tieguanyin (and young puer to some extent) is popular is it is trying to jump on the bandwagon of green tea. Green oolong as it is just as green and vegetal in taste, equally “healthy”. Interestingly the leaves unfurled fast, even after a rinse it was almost open. 2 infusions and the leaves are close to fully open like I steeped this 8 times already. All that said, this modern tieguanyin is the fast food of oolongs.
Now that I got that out of the way… which was the whole point of me procrastinating about this club box, let’s drink the rest.
The dry leaf smells like nut butter, but the hot leaf smells like coconut bread and grass.
This is much better than the modern Tieguanyin! It is still green tasting but has a soft roasted chestnut quality to it. the fragrance is quite nice, leaving a buttery gardenia and honey to rise – having me smell tea more than taste. The sip is smooth. I would be happy to drink this again, especially grandpa style I could see being quite good.
I got 4 infusions which got bitter and astringent fast. Great fragrance though, I tasted this tea for 10 minutes after I finished it.
The dry leaf smells like bread and honey. I screwed up and started pouring water before I remembered to do a dry leaf photo. So here is some damp leaf. The hot leaf smells like a fresh bouquet of flowers.
Ultra fresh tasting! Tieguanyin Three has a flavor of clean blades of grass, butter, and lovely floral bouquet aroma. The aftertaste is heavy floral vomit breath. Reminds me of a flower shop. I like the sticky heavy body on this tea and it reminds me of White2tea’s Farmer Direct Tea if I was made into an oolong and sprayed with perfume.
The second infusion is astringent. My gums feel dried and glued to my lips. The flavor shifted to savory strong grass, getting stewed more and more with each infusion, losing the floral quality to just the aftertaste.
This is another vegetable smelling oolong, but leaning artichoke. The hot leaf smells like boiled artichoke water.
From the description, this tea sounds like everything I don’t like in a higher end tieguanyin – cannabis notes. However, the body is incredibly thick, like drinking melted butter with artichoke drippings. I like artichokes to eat, but find I enjoy the butter more and the chore of eating them not worth it. It isn’t high on cannabis notes, but I certainly pick up interesting fresh notes of pine and butter. I like how smooth and thick this tea is. The aftertaste is fresh pine.
This one got astringent in 4 infusions and got more thin and vegetal with each infusion, leaving a fresh spring grass aftertaste. I can see many who enjoyed the modern tieguanyin would drink this and promptly be ruined for modern teiguanyins. There is much more to this oolong from the body, it has fresh notes over hay, and resteeps better.
Now, this is what I like to smell in an oolong. Roast. The dry leaf is roasty and nutty smelling. The hot leaf smells like roasted tree sap.
The flavor of tieguanyin one is high on the roast without being ashy or bitter. It is stick of butter heavy, notes of mineral, wood, tree sap. The aftertaste sets in a lovely floral honey stickiness. Incredibly smooth and heavy.
With each steeping, it closer to a rock tea. It got peachy, woody, sticky honey, and powdery dry.
As much as I dislike nuclear green tieguanyin, it was interesting to taste a range of tieguanyin. I quite liked One and Three. I think the sad is the reality of nuclear tieguanyin and how popular it is. Often oolong is tieguanyin or hairy crab (which is even cheaper). Oolong is such a big category of tea and the midrange of oxidation between black and green, that it is sad it has shifted more and more green. White2tea sells all these club tieguanyin oolongs, except the green one which should just die in a fire (which would make it taste better).
Heres hoping old processing arts of roasting and oxidization of traditional methods aren’t lost over commercial production.
That was a lot of oolong to drink in one day!