The dry leaf is tightly rolled. It smells moderately roasty. I used 2 tsp of leaf in ~4 oz of water in my little glass gongfu teapot. 5 second rinse. Four steeps, all at 212f.
First steep: 30 sec. The brew is a pale yellow. It smells sweet, but there’s something a bit off about the smell. Almost ammonia-like. This steep tastes sweet, as if there’s a lot of sugar in here with a hint of apple. That weird aspect of the smell is in the taste too, though. Looking at the tea description, maybe this is a bitter almond note?
Second steep: 45 sec. The brown-green leaves start to unfurl. The color of the brew is deeper – a light orange color. There’s that weird smell again, only…warmer? deeper? That bitter almond (?) flavor is stronger than in the previous steep.
Third steep: 1 min. The orange color is very similar to that of the previous steep. The unpleasant odor is fainter, dominated now by a honey scent. There’s a stronger almond taste in this steep, less bitter but more astringent if that makes any sense.
Fourth steep: 2 mins. The leaves continue to unfurl. I can see now that they are a deep green with brown, torn/jagged edges. The brew is the same light orange color as the previous two steeps. The scent is now faintly sweet with a hint of roastiness. The almond flavor is sweeter but the bitterness is still present.
I really, really don’t like this one. Like, I’m actually surprised at how little I like it. I have never found a Butiki tea actively awful before. Did I mess this up somehow? Reserving a rating until I try brewing this Western-style, but based on this session I would rate it a 60.