Rich aroma with strong chocolate tones. Beautifully bright red orange color with a hint of opacity. Leaf is black and long, a little twisted. Flavorwise, strong and rich with a malty base and a hint of pine at the back. Earthy vegetal taste (yam?), surprisingly bitter and raw aftertaste to the back of the throat that gets stronger in later steeps, perhaps due to it being processed only about 3 weeks ago (kind of starts approaching the taste of dirt and 100% dark chocolate, honestly). Overall, quite bracing. Not a lot of astringency, but what’s there lingers in the wake of the bitterness with a bit of a cool tingle.
Lazy, so I’m putting my notes for Spring 2 here too:
Spring 2 was definitely the better of the two. The leaves were floral in aroma over the standard malt, which is a trend I’m starting to notice with some of the higher quality blacks. The liquor was a more orange, less red color than many black teas. Still had quite a bit of a raw, sour potato quality that the Spring 1 had, although less intense (I’m guessing this is due to how new these teas are at a few weeks, as it also exudes a rather exuberant energy despite/because of this). This may be more due to my having more practice at brewing blacks, though, at this point then the teas themselves…
Anyway, the yam flavor is definitely stronger and more prominent on this one. It stands out and perseveres throughout the steeps, although the malty, earthy cocoa-ish profile is here as well and most prominent in the beginning, giving way to that really distinct earthy sweet tuber-ish taste after a couple of steeps.
It was interesting and more pleasant to drink than Spring 1 with a lighter taste overall and better balance of flavors, I can see why it’s higher quality. I’ll have to try the Spring 1 again tomorrow just to make sure this is a fair assessment, though, haha.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Malt, Pine, Potato