Dry leaf is dense, but not tightly compressed. Leaf is typical shu -black, to dark brown. Dry leaf aroma is nonexistent. This tea seems to have been dry stored. Steamed aroma is sweet earth. Ditto for brewed aroma. Brews up a semi-transparent dull copper. Sort of surprising. Most shu is pitch black. I’m going to assume the brew color is due to the age of this shu.
First brew is slightly boring. It tastes like a typical, aged, mid quality shu. Which, in and of itself would be good. However, it tastes a bit too rounded for me. I think the ageing process took off any harshness, but it also took off the high notes. Flavors are as follows: A soft, slightly musty sweet earth. A hint of peach, maybe. Texturally, it’s very soft. The finish sees an increase in must. Cha qi is negligible. Second brew presents with a much darker liquor. It looks more like typical shu. Murky, dark brass. Beyond that, there’s very little development in this brew. Third brew is even darker. Murky black, with just a hint of brass. Taste remains one dimensional. The must is growing stronger, but it’s not enough to give this tea any real character.
The fourth brew does an about face. Liquor is much lighter. It’s still murky, but, color wise, it’s closer to the second brew. Taste is noticeably sweeter. The musty element is still present, but not as prevalent. There’s now a peach sweetness, that transitions into a more sweet earth profile on the finish. Fifth and sixth brew continue this trend. Seventh brew tastes stepped on. Far too watery. On the eighth brew, I added 20 seconds to the steep time. Even with that increased steep time, the strength of the tea did not improve. It’s officially steeped out. At least, with this method of brewing. I’m sure you could do some really long infusions to maybe get another few brews out of it.
One side note. This tea has a fair amount of body caffeine in it. I noticed my hands twitching a bit while typing out these notes. I’m hesitant to attribute this effect to cha qi. It doesn’t have the mental stimulation that I usually get from cha qi.
Flavors: Earth, Musty, Peach