This is a very unusual tea, but I like it. The brew is a nice orange color, with an aroma that’s sweet with a hint of smokiness. It’s medium-bodied with a very smooth texture and a fairly mild flavor: a sweet, roasted, almost malty taste. It’s almost similar to a weak pu-erh, particularly in its sweetness, but without any of the earthiness. It’s also quite similar to a fully-roasted all-twig kukicha, but with less of a bark-like flavor. It has a very long aftertaste.
This is an interesting tea, with a flavor I enjoy. It’s very difficult to categorize — it isn’t really grassy, nutty, flowery, salty, spicy, smoky, twiggy, mulchy, or any of the other adjectives that normally fit green, black, or pu-erh teas — but it’s definitely recognizable as tea. This is the kind of tea I push on people who say things like “I don’t like tea” or “all teas taste the same”.
A quick pre-rinse really helps the first infusion; I often do two pre-rinses. It does offer multiple infusions, but not very many: after two infusions the leaves often still have some flavor in them, but it takes a long time to extract that flavor. This tea is almost impossible to overbrew, though, so I’ll do one ‘leftover’ infusion at the end with an unbounded brew time. After 10 or 15 minutes, this ‘leftover’ infusion becomes strong and tasty without the bitterness such a long infusion would normally bring.
I didn’t include this in my numerical rating, but I do have one very negative comment: This tea comes in individual-serving foil packets, and those packets are horrible. They’re difficult to open, they contain too little leaf (for my 16 oz teapot), and they make the price outrageously expensive. While I do think this is a tea worth trying, the current price is simply not worth it.