I’m drinking this from a loosely compressed sample of mostly nice, intact leaves. It smells pretty dry and not fragrant. I’ve been “storing” my sample in a cheap plastic bag in a cabinet so that’s probably not been great for this tea. Oops. The warmed dry leaf smells like tart apricot. After a quick rinse, the smell on the gaiwan lid is spent smoke/ash. Same thing for the wet leaves. Uh oh, hope this one tastes better than it smells.
The first steep is a cloudy, pale yellow. It tastes herby and a bit vegetal with a background of smoke. Steep number two is darker and thicker but tastes mostly the same. The aftertaste is tart apricot.
Three steeps in, I’m noticing more and more char at the bottom of my cup. That would explain the residual smokey taste happening here. The brew is still quite cloudy but it has gained some honey sweetness as well as astringency.
Fast forwarding to steep ~7 now. The tea is basically static except it’s developed a strange soapy finish/aftertaste. It’s still pretty strong and hasn’t lost its potency.
10 or 11 steeps in I’ve started to arrive at the vegetal/stewed greens stage of this tea. Still pretty strong, but the flavor has changed significantly.
Unfortunately, I think this tea is a miss. It could age into something really nice but I wouldn’t drink this young.
Flavors: Ash, Herbs, Smoke, Vegetal