Dry – Bittersweet, slightly earthy, vanilla, cocoa beans rich bitter notes.
Wet – Bittersweet and sweet, dates, starch, cocoa bean bitterness, thick and dark fruits. Some fruity notes develops with some steeps.
Liquor – Red amber to very deep burgundy.
Initial steeps start sweet, quickly transitioning to bittersweet notes with good complex middle that wears vanilla, cocoa bean and dark fruit notes with a thick body and a pleasant smoothness as it washes down, it feels like it goes from a creamy thickness to a more silky (maybe lightly oily) mouth-feel. It has a good sweetness at the end with fruit notes and a slight camphor. Steeps 2-3 got more camphor at the end, not overwhelming just present and refreshing at the end.
Mid steeps (4-6 maybe 7) Are Bittersweet on the front that transitions to sweeter notes that resemble vanilla, molasses and warm sugar before giving hints of the cocoa bean notes, dried dark and red fruits with a thick middle body and maintaining that transition to a smoother, almost slippery sensation when going down. A refreshing sensation of camphor lingers with fruity sweetness.
Final steeps (7-9, some instances up to 10) The tea starts collapsing by the 6th steeps and sometimes by the 7th, requiring bigger time adjustments and giving you a watery steep in the middle of this transition. Once you adjust the tea recovers many of its characteristics including the bittersweet to sweet transition and a vague thickness sensation, but remains mostly smooth with sweeter notes of vanilla and dried dark and red fruits. At this point there’s a starchy note and sensation that can come from the small buds starting to fall apart a bit.
VERY good tea, it does have as much ‘chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’ as I initially expected, but it does have more complexity that most ripes, even some well outside its price range. I would drink as it is, but I can see this being really good if you store it in a container to ‘harvest’ some of those complex notes.
Flavors: Camphor, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Sweet, Vanilla