Thank you Alistair for this sample. I decided to finally brew my 2020 sample during a cold, winter day with the mega storm passing through as I grade. Japanese blacks are always extremely woodsy for me, and are usually a strong hit or miss. This one is a happy medium with a nice bit of complexity.
I should have aimed to use more water to cut down on some astringency, but I did three flash point gong fu sessions. Eastteaguys florid description is on point. Like other Japanese blacks for me, there is a cherry wood quality to it that is pretty nice, and heavy with plum, dark chocolate, malt, drying straw, and sweet wood. It’s very earthy, and kind of feels like a darker hojicha. The texture is incredible despite the bitterness I got, and the color yields a deep red that’s gorgeous to look at.
It’s a good tea that fits a lot of what I like from most teas, though it’s a little bit woodsy and bitter for me to get more of. I could brew it more carefully next time to improve my enjoyment, but I know how Japanese blacks can be. I still recommend it for people trying out Japanese blacks. I could see this tea blending with roses pretty nicely personally.
Flavors: Astringent, Bread, Cherry Wood, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Dry Grass, Drying, Plum, Straw, Sweet