I feel the need to revisit (and re-rate) this tea after having received brewing advice on it. It seems my love for packing the gaiwan doesn’t have the best results when it comes to teas like this!
So I scaled back from 4g/90ml to 2.3g (well, I planned on trying 2g, but the leaves were in this nice little 2.3g chunk and I wasn’t sure how I was going to break that apart without damaging the leaves, so I went with it).
I can certainly say that with the lesser leaf, the sharp astringency that put me off last time is pretty much gone. I have to compensate with slightly longer steep times, which took me a bit to adjust to, but the results are very pleasing.
I will start by saying that I don’t know what this is, but this incredibly relaxing “tea-high” mental fog seems to come especially strong with this tea— I noted it was especially strong last time I tried it too. Not sure if it’s coincidence or something special in this particular tea, but it’s a factor I can’t ignore.
Nuttiness is a factor I’ve really come to love in teas, as well as this woody/earthiness I’ve only just been introduced to since wading around in the shores of pu’er (okay, that’s a strange mental image). I get a bit of a spicy aftertaste now that I didn’t get before; that’s really very pleasing. The later steeps still remind me a lot of Cream of Wheat (I was totally obsessed with that stuff when I was a kid). Overall I think it’s a very nice comfort tea.
I just went to Verdant Tea’s site to check the pricing on this stuff, and it’s 13.50 an ounce, ouch. Good as this stuff is, I’m not sure the experience is worth that much to me, personally. Although an ounce would go a long way, especially using 2g per session, I would rather spend on something I haven’t tried already.
It’s funny how I am much more than willing to pay a lot for samples of tea I have never tried than for larger amounts of tea I already know I like. Maybe that’s just the sign of a greener tea-drinker; maybe years later after I’ve got a pretty good handle on what most teas from major growing regions taste like, I’ll settle a little and be more than happy to buy entire cakes of stuff like this. But right now, the prospect of a brand new tea experience is worth more of my tea-budget than a repeat of something I know I love.
But back on the topic of the actual tea, I want to thank Geoffrey for the brewing suggestion; go easy on the leaf amount, especially if you’re super-sensitive to astringency as I am, heh. It really improved my enjoyment of this tea!