I could smell this tea the minute I opened the mailing envelope. It has a smoky aroma, even the dry leaf does. The dry leaf is a very pretty silver green. Here’s a pic, but it doesn’t really show the silver effect well:
When I brewed it up, there was an old man tobacco smell. No other way to describe that. ;)
The tea had a warming effect on me from the first sip…interesting. I gong fu-brewed it as usual. About the third steep or so, it tasted like grilled veggies, which turned into a grilled meat flavor. According to JalamTeas, they make a soup out of this tea with garlic…I can see why that would go well together. The grilled veggie/meat flavor was kind of good, and I’m a vegetarian!
This is a tea that I probably would have hated when I first started drinking loose leaf, but I really like it! It does sweeten up like most shengs, but in much later steeps. The smoky grill flavor is nice for a cold day like today.