Method: Gongfucha with 4 grams of tea to 100 ml of water with a quick rinse.
Upon opening the bag, you are overwhelmed by the strong scent of smoke, like you’re sitting right beside a campfire. The dry leaves are completely black and of a good size.
First Steep (10 seconds): The Color of the first infusion is a nice red-orange. The liquor Smells like a blend between Assam and campfire smoke. The Taste is smokey, with just a hint of fruit in the background. And the Aftertaste is simply like a clean black tea layered with a bit of smoke.
Second Steep (15 seconds): The Color becomes an even deeper shade of red-orange. The Smell has become a little more smokey, but hasn’t changed too much. The Taste is, again, a little more smokey. The Aftertaste hasn’t noticeably changed.
Third Steep (20 seconds): The Color is still that deep shade of red-orange, but the Smell has become completely made of smoke. The Taste has let go of some of the smoke for a more balanced blend of smoke of crisp black tea. The Aftertaste now tastes just like how pine resin smells.
Fourth Steep (25 seconds): The Color hasn’t changed at all, and the Smell is beginning to thin out, but is still has that nice smokey aroma. The Taste has taken on a slightly creamy citrus note in addition to its smokey flavor, and the Aftertaste still tastes like the scent of pine resin.
Fifth Steep (30 seconds): The Color has become noticeably more orange, with just a hint of red. The Smell is still that crisp blend of black tea and smoke. The Taste has let go of the citrus, and has become an interesting “creamy smoke” flavor. The Aftertaste is like the smoldering embers of a campfire.
Summary: This tea is definitely not for someone who doesn’t like smoke. The tea tastes and smells like smoke (to be expected), but has enough other flavors to make it interesting. I don’t hate this tea, but I can definitely see why so many would be averse to it. But, in my opinion, there is much better tea out there for similar prices that I can’t recommend this tea.