What a fun tea- so different from my previous experiences. The longest leaves were as long as my index finger and impressive upon first sight. I brewed about 8 leaves in about 10 oz of water at 170F or so and found the flavor to be light with a subtle baked and vegetal undertone, and quite enjoyable, although a little weak for my taste. I added four more leaves and brewed the next round at 180F. This created a more assertive brew, although still mild compared to other teas in my cupboard. Whenever I come across a light tea that forces some concentration it becomes a meditation tea for me and reminds me to take the time I need to be mindful and aware.
I read that leaves from the true Taiping Houkui cultivar have a red vein down the middle of the main leaf, and a vibrant color when wet. I cannot say that these leaves possessed those qualities. I don’t know if that means Harney has a lower-quality houkui, but I do know I’m gonna buy some from hojo.com, since they are the ones making the statements. This will give me a little compare-and-contrast opportunity.