As promised, I came back to this tea in order to examine it in greater detail after being very impressed by it during an impromptu evening session.
I brewed this tea gong-fu style, this time using a clay kyusu.
Upon initial examination, the dry leaves appeared very large, and they were twisted and rather delicate (unfortunately quite a few were broken, presumably during shipping; hence the choice to brew in a kyusu this time around). The colors visible ranged from white through green to nori-black.
Even when dry, the leaves are super aromatic. Just putting them into the kyusu, I was hit by a wave of enticing scents, predominated by seaweed and sweet corn-flavored battered peanuts (admittedly quite an esoteric note, but very dominant in my perception), shortbread cookies, roasted vegetables, teriyaki sauce, cashews, and chestnuts.
After the first infusion (I did not rinse the tea before brewing), the wet leaves were beautifully large and wavy. They gradually lost their white and black tinges and became more uniformly jade green from infusion to infusion.
The wet leaves gave off the same aromas as when they were dry, along with notes of sweet peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash. The aromas of seaweed and teriyaki sauce overtook the corn-battered peanuts fairly quickly. The overall aromatic profile became more and more sencha-like on later infusions, though the finish remained strong and unique throughout the session.
The liquor was a pale shade of green and very clear.
The taste, especially on the first two infusions, was beautifully evocative of salt (though I would not call it “salty” per-se), the aforementioned peanuts, seaweed, sweet roasted vegetables, and buttery cookies. Zucchini was especially prominent towards the end. This tea has a sencha umami and gyokuro creaminess. A biting grassiness really shines in later infusions.
This tea has a mild astringency on its finish. Forgive my tackiness when I write that it sort of “dances on the tongue”, particularly the front. The tea is slightly and pleasantly drying.
The mild astringency of the tea quickly gives way to a lovely sweet, green finish which accompanied me out the door and was clearly present for a solid half hour after the final infusion.
Flavors: Carrot, Cashew, Cookie, Grass, Green, Kettle Corn, Peanut, Peas, Roasted Nuts, Salt, Seaweed, Smooth, Soy Sauce, Squash, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Umami, Vegetal, Zucchini