Dry leaves are large, dense, and tightly formed. They smell of gentle charcoal baking; sweet, light, and fruity. The darker green you would expect from a “light roast” is perfectly realized in the raw leaves. Once rinsed leaves smell of fresh orchird. Picking standard is three leaves, which grow very dark after steeping.
In the first steepings, you are met with a light yellow-green liquor. The taste is woody with gentle pear and apple notes. In later steepings, orange and hidden melon flavors sneak out in a thick golden orange soup. A fullness in the mouth and lingering fruity sweetness is felt throughout the impressive 15 or 20 steepings possible with the leaves.
However, don’t let this tea’s gentle color fool you; it is chalk full of tannins that attempt to stain your porcelain and the exessesive astringency that comes with them. This can be moderated by careful leaf quantity and water temperature selection. About 2.8 grams of the deceptively dense leaves per 50 ml of high fish-eyes water. Hard breaking of the gaiwan is also necessary to keep down the developing stuffiness.
Overall, an interesting tea that’s hard to work with, but very rewarding once all the specifics are dialed in. At about $20 for 4 oz., I would buy this tea again.