Wednesday, December 13, 2017
2017 Teamasters’ Wild
This wild tea was a free sample sent with a recent order from Teamasters. It currently sells for $388.00 for 200g cake ($1.94/g) or 10g at $25.00. At this price it is the most expensive wild tea that I have sampled even more expensive than any fresh young puerh that I have ever sampled.
Dry leaves smell of very intensely sweet sugar cane and licorice/ fennel odours in a deep forest base.
The first infusion greets the drinker with a very smooth full mouthfeel and thick chalky throatfeel. The feeling in the mouth and throat are wonderful but almost distract from the very light, juicy fresh lychee and floral taste. There is a mild coolness in the throat as it opens slowly and deeply. There is a very light floral lingering there minutes later.
The second infusion opens up with a mouthfeeling before a true initial taste comes along. When it gets there, a turbid, foresty taste with a sweet slight sugary edge reveals itself. It finishes in the throat with turbid barely floral tastes lingering there.
The third infusion has nice movement. It starts with a bit of a vacuous taste, then subtle flat floral notes appear, then slight sugar, then turbid forest tastes, then slight cooling, then slight turbid floral. Overall there is no base taste to root down these very light, transitioning tastes. The qi is calming and very mellow. It is very light on the body and relaxing on the mind.
The fourth infusion starts with a vacuous sweet taste which turns into a turbid foresty almost bubble gum sweet taste which sticks to the cheeks and tongue as it evolves into a floral taste. All this movement is very very light. Overall there is much movement within each sip but the tastes are not strong. The mouthfeel and throatfeel of this tea are very nice.
The fifth has a more rounded juicy fruit feeling to it. A lychee taste is present throughout now but it is very fragile and even simple. The aftertaste slowly unravels into sweetness, slight coolness, and even floral. The tea is very gentle on the body and probably would be best consumed immediately. This is for sure a sweet wild tea. Everything about this tea is subtle, gentle, and fragile. The full, soft, chalky and sticky mouth- and throat-feel is the exception. The qi of this wild is quite cooling and its cool thermal energy is noticeable.
The sixth infusion again has a defined initial taste of florals and rubbery barely fruit sweetness. The taste has rounded out significantly with movement in the long subtle aftertaste especially in the throat but also later in the sticky coating in the mouth. There are lychee fruits, florals, clean wild tea foresty-turbidity tastes minutes later.
The seventh infusion starts with a classic subdued gummy foresty floral wild taste before an empty dip. The aftertaste is just mild coolness and barely forest notes here. The eighth turns lighter into a foresty wild taste. The ninth fades considerably with just ghostly flavours lingering in a gummy, forest wild tea taste. A profound cooling sensation sweeps over my body. This tea is by far the most cooling and refreshing of all wilds I have tried.
The tenth infusion I add 15 seconds more steeping time and some apricot and pear notes appear in the initial taste profile followed by a subtle pungency. This infusion has more complexity to it. The eleventh even more time is added and a much thicker mouthfeel is the main result. In this thick mouthfeel are candy like subtle sweet tastes as well as some rubbery tastes. The great thing about this sweet wild tea is that there is so little astringency and bitterness that you can really push it hard to get more interesting things out of it with longer infusion times.
The twelfth infusion is long and pushes out sweet gummy tastes, slight florals and barely cool throatfeels in a gummy rubbery wild base taste. The thirteenth pushes out some berry fruity tastes initially in an more interesting wild base taste. The aftertaste is now fruity and lightly sweet.
This tea is interesting in that you can really vary the steeping time to pull out lots of different flavors because you really don’t have to contend with bitterness at all.
So I do this for another few steeps before putting these leaves to rest.
This is an interesting wild tea because there are so many different steeping options available which push out a different dimension with each pot. If there are those of you out there who are curious about how steeping temperature and time effects flavor in wild teas, this tea might be as interesting for you as it is for me.