Breaking off 7g for my ~80ml gaiwan was pretty easy with this cake. I managed to get mostly whole leaves. Dry leaf smells faintly apricot sweet and just a bit musty. In the warm gaiwan, it smells of lightly smoky, maybe grilled, apricot. After a rinse, the gaiwan lid smells of musty books and the wet leaves have a mulling spice aroma to them.
I typically prefer younger shengs but I do came back to this mini-cake quite often. It’s smooth and hits the spot when I don’t feel like drinking a more recent production.
The first steeps of this tea yield a pretty cloudy, amber ale colored brew. It’s immediately sweet with some mild bitterness and a hint of smoke. The apricot that the young teas in the sample set have is still present but the harsher characteristics of the tea have mostly aged out. The bitterness and smoke leave pretty quickly – it only takes a couple steeps before the smooth character of this tea reveals itself. There’s still some slight astringency but it’s accompanied by a decent salivation effect.
Into the later steeps, the tea continues to mellow out and the astringency fades in and out. Some sweet minerality makes an appearance in the last half of my steeps. It’s an easy to drink, tasty tea with pleasing semi-aged character throughout.
Flavors: Apricot, Mineral, Musty, Smoke, Spices, Sweet