The dry leaf is dark green, verging on black, and twisty, but not rolled into balls. It smells woody and earthy, with hints of orchid that contrast in a very interesting way.
Steeped, the leaf smells intensely floral and woody. The tea soup is a pale amber colour and very clear. It smells very faintly of honey and wood.
On the first steep, the wood note is dominant, with honey and orchid in the background. I steeped 1g in 50ml of 90C water for 30 seconds, as per the steeping directions, but the flavour seems a bit light. I think this might have benefited from a quick rinse and a bit of a rest, to let the leaves open up a bit more, or just a slightly longer first steep.
The second steep is amazing. Everything about this steep is stronger and deeper, with well balanced notes of wood, roast and honey forefront, backed up by a lovely orchid. The finish is long, with a honeyed, tangy vegetal note that develops long after the sip. The texture is creamy and smooth.
The third steep intrigues me. The steeped leaf has taken on an almost acrid, charred wood note that I find unappealing. But the flavour of the tea is incredible. There is more roastiness and less honey than on the second steep, but toward the end of the sip there is a melted butter and brown sugar taste that contributes to the rich, creamy impression from the mouth feel.
The fourth steep once again seems lighter on flavour than it should be. While the flavours of the third steep are present, they are mild and a bit muddled.
For the fifth steep, I didn’t bother timing precisely and just let the tea sit until it seemed like it was ready. The butter, brown sugar and orchid are back to being more prominent, but at this point the leaves are staring to lose their flavour.
This is an amazing tea that shows its age through the fine and complex flavour. While three of my five steeps were not all that impressive, I was quite blown away by the second and third, and I think it is well worth drinking for those steeps alone (and I think with some tweaking of steeping technique and parameters, at least three incredible steeps could be had.)
I drank this and made my note without looking at anyone else’s impressions, and it’s so interesting to see the variety of different experiences people had with this tea. There’s a great deal of diversity in the flavours that people picked out.
While this may not be an every day kind of tea, it is one that is absolutely worth trying.
30s, 30s, 45s, 45s, 1min+
Sample provided by Nannuoshan.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Creamy, Earth, Honey, Orchid, Roasted, Smooth, Tangy, Vegetal, Wood