Brewed in my new porcelain Jingdezhen gaiwan. Water is just off the boil throughout. 7th steeps onward shared with my wife.
After a wash, the wet leaves have a distinctive banana-leaf aroma.
1st – 7th steeps (flash, slowly ramping up to 10 seconds): Seal brown liquid with burnt umber and auburn highlights. Aroma suggests shiitake, ginseng, and banana leaf. Earth, chalk, and hints of chocolate on the palate with the latter hanging on into the finish where it is joined by a hint of stale tobacco and wet stones. The fermentation lends the cup a gentle vegetal/herbaceous quality, suggesting Chinese medicine. No bitterness…nice, medium-full body.
8th – 14th steeps (10 sec, slowly ramping up to 30 sec): Color gradually lightens from chocolate to burnt umber to chestnut – aromatics and flavor remain consistent throughout. Body is lighter.
15th – 20th steeps (30 sec, ramping up to 2+ min): Tea slowly grows paler and loses potency in both aromatics and flavor, although the character of both remain coherent. Some hints of Hawaiian dinner rolls in the finish. Body is lighter yet.
This tea is decent on its own, but works better as a foil to food – in this morning’s case, deftly framing the sweetness of a Pink’s Crisp apple and some quality farmer’s cheese.