I bought this a long time ago for the novelty value and never opened it until today.
The tin contained four oranges, two of which were individually wrapped. Two of which were wrapped together.
After taking off the cellophane, the little orange smells like… old orange, and a fishy, earthy, shu smell. The tea was fairly well compacted within the little orange and had to be pried out. I put about half an orange’s worth into the little gaiwan I use, and have enough for another session left in the orange. I stuck a bit of the peel in the gaiwan, too, as suggested in the description.
I rinsed and then steeped with boiling water for 10 seconds. I followed this, roughly:
1st infusion: 10 seconds
2nd infusion: 10 seconds
3rd infusion: 20 seconds
4th infusion: 30 seconds
5th infusion: 40 seconds
6th infusion: 1 min.
7th infusion: 2 min.
8th infusion: 4 min.
9th infusion: 5 min.
10th infusion: 6-8 min.
The tea starts out a clear copper color and smells quite vegetal. Carrots, celery, mushroom. Not fishy. Maybe a hint of orange, but not a lot. By the second steep, it darkens significantly to dark amber with a reddish tinge. The flavor continues in the same vein. Some earth and leather notes, but they are secondary to the vegetal ones. Around the fourth infusion, it becomes more mushroomy. A sort of spicy note, which may be the orange, comes to the fore in the sixth infusion. The tea’s color started to lighten again around steep 6, too.
I could have stopped at 6, but I continued. The tea pretty much gave up the ghost at 6.
It’s an interesting tea and not bad tasting. It gets points for having some different characteristics than other pu-erhs I’ve had in my recent experiments, but I would have expected it to go on longer and to generate a deeper, more robust flavor than it did.
Flavors: Carrot, Celery, Fishy, Mushrooms, Orange