This was another sipdown of mine from late last year. I ended up receiving a free sample of this tea with an order from teaware.house. I had no real information on it at the time and still am not certain whether this tea was a 2018 or 2019 production. I found it to be an odd tea with tremendously intense character, though it did not strike me as being unappealing.
As I only had a 5g sample pouch of this tea with which to work, I opted to prepare it gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minutes, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of pomegranate, red wine, blackberry, plum, and black raspberry. After the rinse, new aromas of orchid, candied pomelo, cream, butter, and honeysuckle emerged along with a subtle spinach scent. The first proper infusion added additional aromas of bread and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of pomegranate, butter, red wine, sour cherry, blackberry, orchid, and cream that were balanced by hints of bread, black raspberry, black currant, fig, and candied pomelo. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of violet, peach, sour cherry, and sugarcane in addition to a much stronger candied pomelo fragrance. More dominant notes of bread and candied pomelo emerged alongside impressions of violet, almond, grass, minerals, earth, sugarcane, plum, and nectarine. Hints of honeysuckle, apple, peach, spinach, and vanilla were also present. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, sour cherry, pomegranate, nectarine, butter, and orchid in addition to a stronger peach-like presence. Fleeting hints of almond, plum, spinach, cream, blackberry, bread, candied pomelo, red wine, and sugarcane continued to be detectable in the background.
I don’t normally write extensive concluding notes for teas I review, but I did for this one. The tea had a boozy presence in the mouth and packed a huge caffeine wallop. The energy it provided was almost overpowering at times. The texture of the tea liquor was typically thin and slippery, but it had a habit of shifting unpredictably, creating something of a chaotic presence that kept me on my toes through the entirety of the drinking session. While I respected this tea’s complexity, vigor, and durability, it offered a lot to process. I doubt it would be suitable for beginners or casual drinkers.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Black Currant, Black Raspberry, Blackberry, Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Fig, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nectarine, Orchid, Peach, Plum, Pomegranate, Red Wine, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet