Leaf Appearance: deep green, tightly rolled
Ingredients: oolong tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold
Some of you might remember my review of Xi Mu Cha's Nonpareil Lalashan Oolong. Both teas are from the same region and were made with the same cultivar. I think I might have to declare Vivid Retention my favorite. First of all, isn't that a completely epic name for a tea? You won't just remember it, you'll retain the memory vividly!
The dry leaves had an intriguingly strong smell that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I immediately thought to myself, "This is going to be good!. Even before drinking my senses were flooded with heady floral notes. Green oolongs similar to this one are usually likened to orchid but I felt like lavender was a more apt description in this case. I used a tapered teacup (basically a giant aroma cup) and it did a fantastic job of trapping all of those aromas for my nose to linger upon. If you don't have a similarly shaped cup you'll definitely want to take advantage of sniffing your gaiwan lid to get the full effect.
That intense floral character carried through in the taste as well. Vegetal and creamy notes danced around a lingering sweetness. Visions of lavender and honeysuckle danced in my head. There was no bitterness or astringency, even with stretched out steep times. This is an oolong that should definitely be gongfu'd in order to extract every bit of deliciousness. Although it would definitely hold up to western or grandpa style brews, I think you would loose some of that incredible intensity. As they unfurled the leaves were large and leathery with lots of visible bud sets. I could even spot oxidation spots and naturally serrated edges.
Have you ever tried a tea from Xin Mu Cha or Lala Shan? Let me know about it in the comments!
Vivid Retention 2015 sample provided for review by Xin Mu Cha.