Thanks Bonnie for the sample! I brewed this tea in a yixing pot. I used approximately 2 tsp of leaf for a roughly 6 oz pot.
Dry leaf appearance: almost like bits of charcoal. Very dark, crisp looking leaves. This shou is loose-leaf, not compressed into a cake.
Dry leaf aroma: Very little aroma from the dry leaves, likely because the leaves are very old!
After a short rinse, I brewed the first infusion for around 20 sec with boiling water. The liquor is surprisingly light considering the darkness of the leaves. Aromas are musty, but not in a bad way. The flavor is very sweet and toasty (but not roasty) up front with some very interesting notes that I couldn’t really name. Subsequent infusions reveal a peppery spice and increase the sweetness.
Oh, and this tea does indeed have strong chi! After four infusions, I can definitely feel the theanine kicking in.