On the warm leaf: chocolate covered cherries, raspberry jam, Andes mints… seriously, the milk chocolate is unmistakable. Wow.

Wet dog coming off the pour again — this must be par for the course with Ruby 18? Wintergreen here, too (where the Floating Leaves R18 had it everywhere except the nose). Herbaceous.

First pour tastes of baker’s cocoa, tannin, leather, tobacco. I can’t locate any fruit, mint, or sweetness.

After the first pour, wintergreen is now fully apparent in the wet leaves… medicinal and herbal like a Ricola cough drop, menthol cigarettes… immediately after the next pour there was a distinct celery seed and water chestnut aroma (which changed again before the next fill… smells in the pot are all over the place, haha).

Second pour, wet dog is still heavy on the nose, with ripe fruit and more wintergreen. The taste is more cooling, and I’m able to pick out some wintergreen where I wasn’t in the first pour. Quite drying throughout my whole mouth, with crunchy tannins and cherry. Cocoa seemed to have mostly dissipated, until I took the last sip and found chocolate covered peanuts at the bottom of the cup.

Back to the leaves: chocolate covered cherry and wintergreen now that they’ve cooled a bit. The leaves might be the most interesting part of this tea.

Several more steeps. Some indistinct florality. Biggest pulls are mint, milk chocolate, cherry, tobacco — and it all completely works together. The tannins are what give me pause, which I know is common with Ruby 18s. (derk, I’m shocked you didn’t get any going grandpa style! Maybe I should have followed your lead.) If I had more leaves, I might try this at a lower temperature? Even still: Song recommends 5g in 150ml at 205 degrees for a full minute, and I’m only at 3.5g/150ml at 195 degrees for about 10-15 seconds! I think my tongue might turn to leather if I cranked that hard.

A delightful journey, and probably the most interesting Ruby I’ve had so far. There is so much to uncover here. Thank you so much for the absolute treat, derk!

Flavors: Celery, Cherry, Cocoa, Crisp, Drying, Herbaceous, Herbal, Jam, Leather, Medicinal, Menthol, Milk Chocolate, Mint, Peanut, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Tannin, Tobacco, Wet Dog, Wintergreen

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