This came in the December tea of the month club from Verdant.
What a unique tea . . . my first reaction was to think how strange it was, but by the fifth steep, I found I enjoyed it a lot.
The dry leaf of course didn’t look anything like tea, and smelled interesting, a little like hay. I brewed it western style, but in a kyusu. The first steeping was probably the least flavorful. Like hay, cedar, or dry pine needles. I expected some sweetness, as the tasting notes/suggestions said it is added to other teas to add sweetness, but the first steeping didn’t have any. It actually reminded me of sheng, because it caused the same drying sensation as I’ve experienced with young sheng.
The next four steepings were good, and even, getting better with each one. The drying sensation was no longer there, the hay became slightly more floral, and overall it began to be very juicy and slightly astringent. It was exactly like white grape juice, actually (without the sweetness). However, there was a sweetness present – not in the sip, but these last steepings left a very nice returning sweetness in the throat. That was easily my favorite part about this tea.
This tea is great it just for the aftertaste (which remains for quite a long time, too).
I can see why you would want to add this to another tea – it won’t have a significant impact on the other tea’s profile during the sip, but it will intensify the aftertaste noticeably, as well as add a juiciness. It would add more depth and interest to the other tea, without overpowering it. I look forward to mixing it with their Golden Buds (as suggested) to see the result.