I find this tea very difficult to understand. I’ve seen the consistently high reviews on Steepster, so jumped at the 5 for $5 sale recently at Verdant. It wasn’t what I expected.
My first tasting seemed to confirm the high ratings. I noted a cocoa flavor, and rated it a 90. However, the second time I tasted the tea, the chocolate had gone AWOL, replaced with a tar/tobacco/shoe leather taste that I didn’t care for. My rating dropped to a 72.
I noticed that my first tasting was gong-fu style while the second was western, so I went back to gong-fu style.
In my most recent tasting, today, I am reminded of one of those MC Escher paintings in which the birds fly left or right depending on how you perceive the background. In my first steep, there was nothing but shoe-leather and tobacco. In the second, I began to see chocolate, but briefly. In one sip, I only taste leather, but in the next, the chocolate suddenly peeks out. I suppose one could view this as exciting or complex, but frankly it is too much trouble for me. My overall rating is still fairly high just because it is a well-structured tea, with good nose, balance, and finish. I simply don’t care for the taste.