Surprisingly good! This was a gift to me 3 yr ago and has been in dry storage until the time of this tasting. Although it comes in paper wrap AND a decorative tin , the metal has vent holes to ensure proper aging. The vendor says the cake was compressed in 2014 from maocha from 2008, making it now 13 yr old and I believe it. The larger outer leaves pressed in the 100g tuo disguise a seemingly smaller chop inside, as I carefully pried apart the side of the tuo. I used 4 g of dry leaf and steeped in 90 ml boiling water after a 10s wash under hot tap water. I sipped across 12 steepings of gradually increasing length starting at 15 sec. Color ranged from a bright orange the color of the top of the tin, to a deeper orange matching the middle of the tin.
The tea had a very pleasant taste of light spice and modest astringency on the middle of the tongue with notes of chestnut and a pepperiness, and the leaves started as a deep olive green. By steep 6 a vegetal flavor had emerged, but distinct tea flavor remained and the leaves darkened. Although diminishing by the 12th steep of 2 min., the tea still had good flavor, but the leaves had turned to mush and the tasting concluded. Overall a stable flavor and good aroma, and I’ll buy more of this treasured gift.