I went for a sample of this tea based on the very red color of the liquer in the pictures and the “lightly fermented” description. Both of those are common attributes of ripes that I like.
It brews a red-brown, though not as red as in the pictures. The brewed tea smells of pumpkins a earth (but not the bad kind of earth), taking me back to the time that I helped some friends from a church unload a semi-truck full of pumpkins for a pumpkin patch. I always found it sort of strange that a Christian church sold pumpkins for what is essentially a pagan holliday. :P
But back to the tea. It tastes mainly of dry earth, pumpkin, and light roast coffee. It’s has more bitterness than I’ve ever encountered in a ripe, but definitely not enough to be unpleasant. No fermentation funk to speak of. There’s a slight herbaceous greenness in the back ground, perhaps like bayleaf. There’s a light brown sugar sweetness and a fruity background. If I had to pick a fruit I would say cranberry. This tea reminds me a lot of “craft” or “third wave” type Central American coffees.
I get some qi feels from this tea, which is unusual for a ripe. Fairly complex, and it goes many infusions. This is a pretty unique tea, and the lowest fermentation ripe that I’ve tried. I’d strongly recommend it if you’re a fan of YS’s Rooster King cake or light roast specialty coffees.
Flavors: Coffee, Cranberry, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Herbaceous, Pumpkin, Wood