Tasted in the Autumn of 2016
Method: Gongfucha in a gaiwan with 8 grams of tea to 120 ml of water with a single 10 second rinse.
Initial: The tea is very nice looking with a deep greenish color to the leaves, with a bit of brown in there. Hopefully being in my personal storage for a year and a half will have put some age on it. The compression is very light; in fact, I can easily pull of a chunk with nothing but my bare hands without breaking the leaves. Most of the leaves seem to be whole. The dry smell is very light, but seems floral.
Steep 1 (5 seconds): The Color of the liquor is a clear amber-yellow. The Smell in the cup is fruity, like weak raisins. The taste is a little weak, with a vague sweetness to it, but it has some of that tannic bitterness on the end. No real aftertaste to note other than a slight lingering sweetness.
Steep 2 (5 seconds): The Color has become a little more yellow, so it should show it’s youth a bit more. The smell in the cup has become sweeter; it’s still fruity, but in a more earthy kind of way. There’s thickness to the liquor, but a description for the flavor comes up short. It’s definitely nice, but I can’t put my finger on it. The aftertaste is a bit astringent; it’s only a little, but certainly noticeable.
Steep 3 (10 seconds): I decided to push the tea a little bit by upping the time slightly. The Color doesn’t appear significantly affected, maybe a tad more amber. The smell has definitely changed, it’s more like a mushroom-honey with some fruit thrown in there (in a good way!). Unfortunately the taste didn’t become better with the smell, the thickness has diminished, and the taste has turned a bit watery. There’s still some fruit there, but it’s hidden. The aftertaste is all astringency.
Steep 4 (10 seconds): The Color of this steep is a bit brighter, hopefully that’s a good sign. The smell is elusive, it’s delicate. The taste is far better! It’s like dried pears with a bit of bitterness. The aftertaste has toned down it’s astringency, but you can taste it for several minutes.
Steep 5 (15 seconds): I’m super iffy on adding more time to this tea, but here goes. Color’s a little darker again, but I expected that. The scent has evolved into some kind of grassy-bitter smell, it actually quite nice. The taste is like biting into a slightly bitter pear. It’s juicy, with that youthful twang of bitterness. The astringency in the aftertaste has remained in it’s manageable and lingering phase.
Summation: This is a good tea, especially for the price. In this price range, you can’t beat Scott’s Impressions cakes in terms of taste or quality. I actually seem to remember this tea being much better when it was younger. Im’ hoping that it’s just going through some awkward childhood years. If I had reviewed this a year ago, it would be rated much higher.