Got a small sample of this tea courtesy of James. It definitely looks funky – I’ve heard it called “dead moth tea” before. It didn’t seem any less weird when I sniffed the leaves and got a dry woody aroma, reminiscent of pencil shavings. I figured I might be smelling something weird from the bag it was in or whatever, but no, after a rinse they smelled of wet pencil shavings, with notes of bread and a bit of sourness – maybe light malt as well.
True to the aroma, the tea had a dry woodiness to the taste, though it was more floral-forward for the first few steeps, with the woodiness taking a back seat. There was a little bit of sourness to it, but very little. Three or four steeps in, it started to switch to more of a dry woodiness with floral backnotes, so a reversal of sorts. It sounds really weird drinking a tea that basically tastes like pencil shavings (I remember Denny of TeaDB describing something like this in one of their early episodes – I just assumed he was choosing a weird descriptor for some kind of woody note, but if they were drinking Ya Bao or something like this, I can totally see it now), but I actually did enjoy it. It’s a different flavor, but once you get past the fact that it’s a little odd, it’s interesting and enjoyable to drink. Near steep 7 or so, I also noticed a bit of an increase in sourness, an inkling of citrus creeping into the finish. It wasn’t prominent or anything, but it did serve to make the tea a little bit more interesting when it was otherwise beginning to fade.
I don’t know that this is a tea I enjoyed enough to buy myself, but it was tasty and fun to drink, even if it looks like dead fluffybugs.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Grain, Pleasantly Sour, Wood