A sample from Togo :)
Gone gaiwan. 3g, 60mL, 195F, 10 rinse followed by 11 steeps at 10/15/20/20/25/30/35/45s and 3 more that were left for several minutes since I was distracted by election results. This tea was very enjoyable but really difficult for me to grasp, so if you’re confused by this note, you’ll know why.
The small to medium light greenish-brown nuggets were very fragrant with aromas of sweet roasted apples, brown sugar, a hint of nutmeg, nutty, cookie and light florals. I spent a while cupping them in my hand and sniffing them, even walking around my apartment doing so. Warming them brought out a roasted, savory aroma like grilled apples, pears and peaches with a slight vanilla honey. The rinsed leaf smelled like a darker honey, roast, the grilled fruits turning to baked with herbs. With the first steep, the leaf released very fruity and floral scents into the air. Notable were cherry, apple, tropical fruits, cooked greens, peach and honey. I was very into the aromas.
The liquor was complex and dynamic in the mouth. It started off thick, lightly bitter and mineral with notes of cookie and fruitcake and a lasting tart, floral, vegetal and drying aftertaste. For the next few steeps, the liquor turned tart on the sip, thinner and oily and moved quickly into floral tastes. I could pick up on gardenia, violet, orchid, vanilla, roast, apple, and banana leaf. The bottom of the cup smelled strongly of black cherry and honey which made their presence in taste in the fourth steep along with additions to the above of pine, herbs and a savory quality with the roast slipping away. The aftertaste moved to starchy and tangy and settled with butter. The fifth infusion transitioned into gardenia, honey butter, yogurt tang, peach and banana leaf with a stronger astringency. The flavors faded from there on but picked up a short-lived note of lime zest before ending with a nuttiness and herbs.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the dynamic nature of the tea and it kept me very engaged for the first half of the session. The roast seems well done, bringing out the dark cherry note, fruitcake/cookie quality and nuttiness while still allowing the high mountain florals, brighter fruits and herbs to come forward. I appreciated the lighter, oily texture and the interplay of tartness with light bitterness and astringency while being on the less sweet side. I’d love to buy more of this and play around with it.