This was an expensive tea, unique, aged, with interesting notes, and I toyed with buying some for a while, before requesting a sample. I brewed it gong fu for amounts increasing from about ten seconds, using five grams, 8 ounces of water at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The recommendation on the website is to start at five seconds and add three every time, which may give the tea slightly longer longevity, but I can’t imagine it would eliminate the detractors to any great extent.
Firstly, this tea is pretty cool, whatever else you can say about it. I got six steepings out of it, and there were definitely some of the coffee like notes present, as advertised, as well as other complex savory flavors. It is nicely aged and instantly cooled and tingled my mouth and lips. It has excellent qi, and left me feeling very “tea drunk” if you will. At it’s highest moments, it was sublime, and I loved it.
Now for the low moments. There’s really just one bad thing. Something that I have noticed in aged teas but never like in this one. It smelled and tasted like fish. Not every time I drank it, not every steeping, but enough of it that I found it to be very off putting, and would prevent me from ever buying a full ounce. Which is too bad, because otherwise it was really outstanding.
I would recommend the full roast big red robe which is similar, but without any detractors!
Flavors: Coffee, Fishy, Honey, Tea