I wasn’t quite sure what my brother meant when he noted “spicy red flavor” regarding this tea. I smelled the dry leaf and it was very nice, like a well dark oolong, but it didn’t exactly have a bite or spiciness to it.
Despite my uncertainty as to what to expect, I snagged a friend and we retreated to the break room in our office to enjoy a miniature tea party. Fortunately, our office provides a filtered water supply with a choice of chilled or instant hot water, at around 200F (give or take). As the first infusion was completed, we admired the gorgeous amber-orange color of the liquor. It looked like the color of a baked pumpkin.
With the first infusion, the aroma was surprisingly mild. It was definitely earthy and lightly vegetal, but I didn’t detect strong hints of much. Upon my first sip, I suddenly understood what my brother meant by “spicy red flavor”. It has the initial kick of a Chinese red tea with a mildly biting aftertaste. This infusion, the spiciness was more like the affect of something with cloves in it.
The second infusion, however, everything changed. The aroma was more powerful, the flavors of the tea were more distinctive, and the biting aftertaste began to distinctly remind me of the final cool-down after accidentally eating something with a jalapeno in it. I don’t do well with spicy hot things, but this had the lingering characteristics of that without any of the pain, discomfort, or even the flavors I disliked. It was like it took everything I hated about spicy hot foods and removed it, leaving only the pleasant tingling as it sat in your mouth and the slowly fading after-bite.