I bought this tuo to compare it with the 2009 boxed version as I was dealing with the doubt of buying more boxed tuos or a tong of non boxed (and finally I bought a tong of Te Ji).
I don’t know if this tuo has been stored in a closed tong, but if it has been it will benefit of a few years of ‘outbox’ storage.
I’ve used 3.6gr of leaves as I know that xiaguan tuos use to be really strong in flavour. The tuo smells smoky. It’s really really high pressed, I had some trouble to break a part of it.
I have used boiling water:
7sec: the flavour it’s soft, with a hint of sweetness and spices. No bitterness or smoke flavour.
10sec: it’s a little bit astringent, the flavour it’s more spicy, sweet aftertaste.
10sec: sweet flavour, spicy (pepper) and astringent aftertaste.
After resting for a night:
15sec: softer flavour than in the previous step. Smooth sweetness, soft spices, light astringent aftertaste.
I have brew it today with water under the boiling point and flash steeps (around 5sec) and the spicy flavour it has been really weak. I have step it 3 times, the same leaves amount than the previous session (the detailed previously) and it’s really smooth. I will continue with this tuo this evening after the gym and I will update in comments. I will continue steeping with water under the boiling point.
After some hours resting, I’m going to do 3 more flash steps:
*The first one it has some smoky flavour and astringency but with a light sweet aftertaste.
*The second one it’s sweet. With no smoke and maybe a very light astringency.
*The third one it’s sweet and smooth.
This is a really good everyday tuo if you like something strong and spicy as it’s not expensive. I think that it will be better to age it at least an other 3-5 years.
It’s very different from what I remember about the 2009 boxed tuo. I will review it this Christmas to compare it properly and I will also compare it with the Te Ji when it arrives.
For what I have read, this is the typical Xiaguan taste.
Flavors: Pepper, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet