An interesting tea. I received this as a sample but had been eyeing this type of tea before and was unsure of whether or not to take the leap. Gongfued and started out with a 20 second steep at 195-200F, move to 30 seconds, 1 minute and then 2-5 minutes in the later steeps at 200F.I will say that I thought this would be a little more ‘smoky’ (a flavor I happen to like) but there is nothing of that in the actual tea; it is sweet with a starchy, roasted presence generally speaking . I would probably avoid this as a ceremonial tea due to how offensive the leaves smell when the hot water hits them but otherwise a great little oolong that I would order again. It maintains a nice mustardish color through all of the steeps ( I did 6). Overall mild smoothness, no bitter notes that I could detect.
It starts off with very noticeable honey notes intertwined with a roasted flavor, the honey trickling through throughout. Again, the actual leaves (not the tea itself) smell awful, strongly burnt dates /molasses throughout the 6 steeps. Would not advise smelling them; probably the worst I have encountered. Probably to be expected due to how this tea is made though.
With the 2nd steep , roasted flavor comes out to the front a bit more the honey notes die off somewhat. They are still there but more to the back.
3rd steep: honey notes come back, the roasted flavor emerges as the main body of this tea; subtle apple undertones.
4th: 2 min. steep A thick roasted nut flavor barges out front to take the lead with a subtle creme brulee burnt sugar taste (the good kind of burnt) now trailing it with a crisp mouthful finish and lingering honey notes. I would say this is probably my favorite state of this tea, nice complexity.
5th steep: 3-5 minute steep at 200ish F. roasted flavor dies off quickly, the sweetness is left over and is more floral but the actual specific flavors are not as
tangible now. Goes pretty weak after this steep and just has a light mild roast flavor. Still drinkable as of the 6th steep but nothing worth recording as the complex flavors have all died off at this point. Finished at the 7th steep mark but had to spike it pretty good to reach that point. Surprisingly this tea left those crisp apple notes lingering well after I had stopped drinking it. Wonderful.
Flavors: Honey, Roasted, Sugar