Brewed in my porcelain gaiwan. Decided to try this after a horrible experience with some Mandarin peel Pu erh from “Yu Teahouse” (beautiful classy packaging, lousy tea – embodying everything I hate about receiving 礼品茶).
Dry leaf smells fishy in a bad way (neither of the other two cakes in my collection, the 2011 Xin Hai Bai Nian or 2007 Hong Zhuang, smell like this)
After 2 rinses, fishiness is gone. Wet leaf smells like sweet incense wood smoke and sweet baked wholemeal bread
First infusion: wet leaf intoxicating sweet herbal + baking brown-crust bread smell OMG.
Tastes clean, clear herbal + cacao flavour, not sweet. Light on flavour (normal for 1st infusion). No bitterness, but teensy bit of dryness / saliva-induction in the aftertaste (good!)
2nd infusion: Weak, not fragrant, maybe my nose was blocked or eclipsed by the noodles I was having for lunch. Ordinary cacao / tea flavour, medium body.
3rd infusion: Because the 2nd was so weak, I hit it hard (1 min+) and wow super strong aroma of red dates / jujubes! Body still a bit thin, but a bit of a tingly sensation (perhaps like camphor or menthol, though I’m not actually getting those notes).
4th & 5th infusions: red date aroma and tingly sensation are still there but the flavour is really really weak. This tea is done. Not too many infusions but hopefully it will get better with age… and if it doesn’t, then this is a perfectly respectable daily drinker for days when I don’t have time to do more than 2 steepings. Great value for money and still far smoother and more complex than any overpriced “fancy hotel spa”-type gift tea.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cacao, Dates