Stacy sent this to me as a sample, so it must be at least 6 months old. It’s still really good; it must have been fantastic fresh. The dry leaves are dark, long and tight, almost twig-looking. As they unfurl over multiple steeps, the leaves show themselves to be full, dark, and medium-sized. This tastes and smells almost like a black tea. The robust flavor is full of roasted, almost cocoa notes. There is a slightly drying but not unpleasant afterfeel.
After looking at the description, I think I can detect the almond, jasmine, and malt notes, but that might be imaginary. The fourth steep suddenly comes out blazing with glorious honey notes – now I know why the later steeps of the maple pecan oolong are the best! It’s the base tea shining through and complementing what’s left of the flavoring. The fifth steep is even sweeter. The sixth steep is light and sweet. A lot of that roasted, dry aspect is gone. I ultimately got eight solid steeps out of this tea Western-style. Steeps 1-6 were at about 180F, steeps 7 and 8 were about 190F. The first steep was 4 minutes long. I didn’t time subsequent steeps but they were generally between 4 and 8 minutes long. I suspect the leaf would have lasted even longer brewed gong fu style.