2018 Summer Imperial Oriental Beauty from Hsin Chu
Cultivar: Qinxin Dapang
Harvested by hand: the end of June 2018
Origin: Hsin Chu, Taiwan
Process: Jassid bitten buds, high oxidized, in stripes and light/medium roast. Competition brewing (3 grams, 6 minutes)
The dry leaves are very small. Most are white buds or black with some dark red leaves. The brew has a very clear and bright orange color. The open leaves are small and mostly red, which means a high oxidation level.
After 1 years of rest since they were roasted, the dry leaves are expressing their dry scents: summer wood and fruits. The fragrance in the cup starts with dark, exotic fruits when it's hot. It stays strong as it cools down: this is the sign of a great tea! Cold, it turns into a very feminine and sweet perfume. It's very elegant and head turning!
The tea is very sweet and deep. The tannins have mellowed down quite a bit. There's a sour/sweet taste that reminds me of fruit candy! This batch from 2018 is as smooth and sweet as that of 2016.
Conclusion: This OB has it all. It comes from an organic plantation where trees have space to grow naturally. It is made with Qingxin Dapang, the most suitable cultivar for OB. It is harvested in late June, the best season for OB. It comes from Hsin Chu county, from a farmer that specializes in OB. These leaves have an exceptional high percentage of jassid bites, which contribute to its special smell. And last but not least, this OB has been processed in a traditional way, meaning it has been well dried (slightly roasted): this may slightly reduce the fresh scents, but it improves its deep and sweet taste, and it allows this tea to improve with time. After more only 1 year of aging, this OB smells and tastes already fantastic. The fragrances are more 'open' and the taste has mellowed.