This tea has one of the strongest dry leaf aromas I have encountered in a sheng – mostly smells of honey and cookies. After the rinse, the aromas change dramatically to smoky & earthy ones, and strangely enough the wet leaves don’t actually have such a pungent smell anymore. They give off aromas like egg shells, bbq sauce and celery root.
The taste is very strong and bitter right up front in the first few infusions (make sure you keep your initial steeps short). The quinine like bitterness quickly transforms into sweetness though. Other than that, it is a mineral tea with some notes of moss, dry grass and cranberry. The aftertaste starts off sweet but becomes slightly salty afterwards. In late infusions (above 10) I also get the standard tobacco and mushroom flavours, the former actually really strong in the aftertaste.
The liquor has medium thickness and is mouth-watering, oily and a touch powdery. It is also quite warming in the throat. The most memorable aspect of the tea is definitely the cha qi though. It hits really hard, this is not a tea to drink while working. I had to lie down after 3 infusions already.
The leaves are young (small) and still very green, attesting to the dry storage of the tea. It still has quite a way to go in terms of aging. I wish the mouthfeel was thicker overall. Because of the pungent taste, steeping more aggressively doesn’t seem to be a viable option to improve that. But ok, I can accept that this tea is not about the mouthfeel, rather the ‘mindfeel’ and, to a lesser extent, the strong taste. The longetivity is quite good too. Right now I am on steep 14 or so (each one of which was 90-100ml and the first few I should have done shorter tbh), and it seems like it will last for a few more at least.
Flavors: Bitter, Celery, Cranberry, Dry Grass, Grass, Grilled Food, Mineral, Moss, Mushrooms, Salt, Smoke, Tobacco