So this blend was at the top of my wish list and when I heard it was being discontinued I had to pounce and order all the other blends for good measure. Elderberry intrigues me and while I believe I’ve had it’s root in some medicinal tinsanes, I don’t think I’ve really experienced its flavor before. I was a bit unprepared for the intensity of the spice notes though. Again I don’t think I have much experience with ganghal and while I love me some ginger, for some reason I was imagining clove. The smell of the dry tea is potent and did nearly make me sneeze. The husband was actually standing next to me in the kitchen when I opened it and based on the expression on my face, he declined the offer to sniff. I inhaled again more carefully this time and found it to be rich, exotic, culinary and comforting.
I probably brewed this different than most, choosing short steeps in hopes of getting the most out of the pu’erh. The first infusion was the most spicy and I could barely make out the elderberry or pu’erh. I probably would have been happier treating this as a rinse, however I think I would have loved it as a fall/winter blend, just not what I was expecting from this one. The second infusion still carried quite a bit of heat but notes of dark tart and swee berry started coming through with a bit of earthy pu’erh. The third was probably my favorite, a nice balance of all three elements and with a nice mustyness that carried over into the fourth infusion as well.
I didn’t get to spend as much time with this tea as I would have liked, it being Father’s Day and all (brewed up the husband a cuppa Scottish Breakfast in the morning). However I look forward to experiencing this western style, maybe with a quick rinse to lessen the spice. More than anything though I want to try the 2008 nuggets this is based on and see if I can find some of these notes in it, which I suppose is the point. Really should have ordered it at the same time.