5 Tasting Notes
I had a session with a friend using 7g or so in a 190ml pot. I put the large, whole piece in and gave a 20sec wash. We went through ten infusions and at the end of our session, I brought the tea home and got another four infusions out of it. In the first part, the beginning three steeps developed in a tame and predictable arc. Then, on the fourth infusion, the chunk opened up and developed thick medicinal notes followed by a fungal base for steepings 6 to 10. This fungal base kept the tea going strong. The medicinal notes were an eye-opener for me since I did not know this potential of the brick. It got more complex than usual for the eighth and ninth infusions with hints of sweetness overlapping with faint wood and the already present medicinal elements. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to stop but my friend and I had already had a lot of tea.
I came home satisfied. When I took the tea through the last four infusions, the mushroom base changed into a sweetness that steadily declined. I felt warm and full and wanted to have another session with this brick soon. I felt alert but relaxed, mellowed out by this tea.
A regular in my rotation. I break up the large pieces at the beginning of the week. My ratio is 1g/15ml and I rinse with just off boiling for 20sec. The smell of the wet leaves in the pot is very good. Sometimes I drink half the rinse. The drink is a clear, amber color and starts soft in contrast to the pungent aroma. The taste deepens towards the aroma in first five infusions but never tips over to roundness. Instead I get 苦乾 if I oversteep. “Objectively”, there isn’t anything after 10 infusions, but I go for 15 out of this tea. The first six are dynamic and then things calm down and become sweet. The leaf smell goes between sweet camphor/old wood, raisins/nuts, lots of other things too. Whatever. It’s amazing.
I react well to this tea and feel alert, grounded, and calm. On an empty stomach that alertness quickly becomes energy hard for me to control and things turn into a blur. Better to avoid that and always eat so we can work together. The last four infusions are soothing – they reinforce the earlier experience and I rehydrate. I always feel like it was a pretty good day’s work and am worn out just right.
It’s at a good place in development – nine years of age and moving to the clearer side. My ratio is about 1g/13ml. This tea needs a 15s wash hot and it is ready to go. Leaves are not too sleepy. After the rinse, the first steep is really just things waking up. Second to fourth infusions are where it is important to me to get the steep time and temperature right. If I nurture the tea well in those infusions, I can get about 13 infusions total. 渥堆 is not awful – it melds with the medicinal notes in the tea and will back off by fourth infusion. After that is a fungal period, then sweetness, little wood notes here and there. I do not experience cocoa or bitterness.