this tea is processed into bricks, and the end of one of the bricks composed my sample. they sent a generous 10 grams, which came out to 9.7 when weighed, which is close enough for me, being a sample. there was really no smell from the leaves, and there were only a small amount of loose flakes, no dust. there are noticeable golden flowers in the tea.
one thing to note, i did not break up the small brick they sent, opting to let the leaves unfurl slowly to produce a much more stable and slowly changing taste profile. if this was a mistake, please let me know, as im still new to compressed teas.
based on what ive seen and read about the tea, im deciding to treat this like a puh in brewing methods, and using my glass brewing vessel. intial brew was at 20 seconds before starting the pour, no rinse. each additional brew will add 10 seconds.
the tea is a light golden brown. it has a light aroma, and is much like the pu that i have tried. the wet leaves have a smell that is alot like roasted hay. the flavor is really light, making me think that i may have to treat this more like a black than a pu. there is some of the earthiness as is in a pu, but none of the unpleasantness or “swampiness” i tend to associate with pu. light notes of sweet hay, which composes the aftertaste, which lasts for quite a while. even after the taste fades, inhaling through the mouth revives it some. quite impressive.
second brewing, the leaves still smell a bit of hay, but also picked up a nice roasted apple aroma. quite pleasant. the tea is much darker this time, nearing more to light brown. the taste is not much changed, there is still a very light earthy “bitterness” like in a pu. this longer brewing caused it to lose most of the hay notes, so i might try again at 25 seconds next brew. it still has its nice sweet hay aftertaste.
lowering the steep time successfully brought back the hay. really nothing other than that seems to be changing in this tea, so i will make my closing thoughts, and edit if something does happen with the tea.
All in all, the tea is quite modest with its flavors, which are fairly light, and not really noteworthy. i think this tea would be an excellent introduction to puerh, since it has some of the earthy qualities but none of the more harsh “swampy” taste that ive found to be in the pu’s ive tried. This tea will be a workhorse, with many, MANY steeps in it, especially since i left the brick whole when placing it in my teapot. the tea seems to have a medium to high caffeine content, but seems gentle on my stomach so far. i wont be ordering any more of this tea, its just too one note for me, despite having a nice aftertaste. once again, please let me know if you believe i brewed this tea incorrectly.