At first I thought I had picked the worst day to review this tea. When I woke up I felt fine, made a cup, enjoyed it, steeped again, fell asleep. I will bring this back up later in the review but for now – on to the tea!
This tea in dry and steeped from smelled the same. Malt was the very first flavor I could smell. A wonderful slightly chocolatey sweet malt. If you have ever had Carnation Instant Milk in Malt flavor that is what it reminded me of! The leaf was stunning to look at and had this powdered substance all over it – when I first opened the bag it sort of poofed up as I was smelling it and I almost got a big snort of tea powder. The tea itself is not powder of course but rather they are delightful twisted brown and golden leaves.
The first sip made me smile really big. I am sure I looked like the Cheshire cat! This was bliss in a cup! A soothing melody of earthy sensations!
In case no one has noticed I am fine with metaphors!
The day before I had this horrible day of tea samplings, almost everything had this watered down “where’s Waldo” seeking for the flavor experience! Today – to begin my day with THIS tea was a gift! So refreshing to have a tea that is so full of flavor, complex, and unfolding like a story book that makes you want to keep turning from page to page, chapter to chapter! That is how I felt with each steep! This is a tea I could gulp down far too quickly, I had to keep reminding myself to sit back, relax, breathe, be peaceful, and enjoy! I was just so excited with this cup!
There were deep tones such as woods, spices, malt, and chocolate, but yet this tea had such amazing juiciness as well, with a slight peach undertone. The aroma is roasty and toasty and went perfectly this morning with my scone, clotted cream, and cherry brandy preserves! Later in the first cup I noticed almost a sweet potato flavor although it was subtle.
When the cup was empty I immediately went for steep two! At this point I noticed something strange. My teacup was heavily stained. Not only did it have this light stain all over the inside of the cup but also a spotted leopard like pattern of darker stains within it! I have never seen this before so I decided to soak my cup in some water with lemon juice and baking soda. Grabbing another cup I thought I had better brush my teeth with the same mixture when I was done with my multiple steeps of this tea.
On the second steep I increased the steep time by 30 seconds. I am not even sure this was necessary as this cup was darker and richer than the first! I was throughly enjoying this cup of tea lazing on the sofa when I realized that I did not get nearly as much sleep as I had needed the night before. I had only awoken as early as I did because my mailman made my dogs go crazy as he brought a package to my door! I am however pleased that I was woken up because this tea was in that package! I decided to allow myself to drift, leaving my tea on the table. About an hour later I awoke again, to cold tea. The smell of the now cold tea was robust and chocolaty so I decided what the heck and took a gulp. So good! The chocolate notes did come out more when cooled! This was an enjoyable steep similar to the first with more chocolate notes.
Steep three offered a choco-nutty aroma – milk chocolate. Yum! The malty notes were laying nicely in the background and the honey notes were more noticeable to me now, or maybe the grain notes were evolving into a more honey flavor. This steep was amazing as I realized there were sparkling dancing bubble like notes bouncing around on my tongue! Love it! There was a very light peppery flavor present but it did not remind me so much of peppercorn as it did that dusty loose pepper you can get in the tin can in any regular grocery store. Still it offers a lovely, light, non-confrontational pepper zing.
I also found that this tea is very refreshing for a tea with so many deep, earth, flavor notes! It is thirst quenching and I will definitely be taking this tea with me when I go out and about. I will even ice this tea and take it on the go when doing sporting activities! I find it unusual for me to think this of a tea with so many “heavy” type notes!
I sat my delightful brewer aside to reconnect with my lovely Jin Jun Mei later in the day but so far three of three steeps have been wonderful and I know for sure I will get at least three more! Not one of these steeps had any astringency, bitterness, or any flavor that was anything other than perfection! This is one of my favorite teas of all time, of all types, straight, or with additives, “flavored” or not, thus far on my tea journey!