Topic: tasted 5 TGY
I got 5 TGY from the same source in Fujian, China, at different price levels. It's interesting to find out differences between different price levels. For convenience, let me call them 1A, 1B, 2, 3 and 4, with price from lowest to highest. Here are my impressions after 2 tastings of each.
All 5 were made with (relatively) traditional methods (hence fragrance is more implicit than explicit, no vegetable soup taste even after long infusion, and generally strong sweet aftertaste). All are generally good tea free of even hints of any unpleasant flavor.
1A - The only heavy roast of all 5. It's said to be better after 3 months, so my current impression is just a rough one. It's gives a warm throat feeling, slight sweetness and roast corn taste. It doesn't seem very fragrant to me but it feels very warm and comfortable. I guess people who likes black tea will prefer this to the greener roast products. I've also noticed generally many western tea drinkers and some well-seasoned Chinese tea drinkers prefer heavy roast than greener roast. Yet this has the lowest price among my 5 samples, partially because Chinese market favors greener roast, and partially because tea with longer shelf life generally has lower price than tea with shorter shelf life. I constantly think, if one likes heavy roast TGY, it may be a little harder to find more sources but compared with greener roast, there are more chances to get good deals.
1B - price is comparable but slightly higher than 1A. Very pleasant, clear fragrance, not as strong fragrance as 2-4, lasts for about 5 infusions, while all the other samples last for 7+ tasteful infusions.
2 - compared to 1B, the flavor is a bit more "3-dimensional" in the mouth, overall stronger fragrance both in the tea and on the inner lid of gaiwan. When dry tea is put in hot gaiwan, the fragrance is stronger than that of 1B.
3 - Fragrance is stronger, fill entire mouth and calls for attention. Compared with 2, this is the one that makes you stop and stare at it.
4 - Fragrance is more complex. I even think I smelt some milky flavor from the inner lid, which I wasn't sure if is just illusion. Up to 4th infusion, the over all flavor is still richer than the 1st or 2nd infusion of 1B. I am also impressed by the tea water color. The other 3 (1B, 2 and 3) all bear a tiny bit of yellow hint in their tea color, but this one (4) has standard light green tea water, as they say, "green bean soup" color. I personally don't care much about what the tea color is like. The tea water color may reflect flavor to a small degree, but usually tea water color contributes to the price to a large degree.
I think I somewhat got lost between 3 and 4. When I had 4 right after 3, I didn't think it was that much better than 3 to worth a 60% price lift. I think I am happy enough with 3. But the other day when I had 4 alone, I thought it was so wonderful and probably the best TGY I'd ever had. But I never compared 3 and 4 side by side, so I am not sure how much more I like 4 over 3, or probably I would even like 3 a bit more. A few other friends say 3 has better quality price ratio than 4. Probably like me, they were also somewhat lost between these two.
One thing for sure is, 3 or 4 will be my upper limit. I simply have no desire to get samples of upper levels than 4. If destination brings better TGY to me, I will be glad to try it out and enjoy it. But I am happy to stay at this level for now :D