The best word to describe this tea: different. I mean that in the best way possible. It’s like going to work and looking out your window right before lunch to see a man crossing the street with a llama. Uhhh, what? Your taste buds get a similar vibe here with how unique and unexpected this tea is.
When I smelled the damp leaves after pouring some tea into the cup, I closed my eyes and was brought to the middle of an endless field of wheat. The smell of sesame seeds was distinct, and I loved knowing this was going to be a different tea experience than I am used to.
My first few cups were insane — sweet notes of grape, that sesame seed flavor, and a feel that I can only describe as being refreshing like a good vegetable. Not vegetal as is a flavor in greener teas, but a feeling akin to a very refreshing vegetable (I’m assuming this is me experiencing what others are referring to as the avocado notes). There is also a strong tingling texture on the tongue very similar to Big Red Robe. The aftertaste leaves a floral taste in the back that feels like a flowery mist.
On the third and fourth sweepings things mellowed out drastically. The flavor tasted like a light dancong with a hint of spice and sweetness. To be honest, I became a bit disappointed as everything died down severely (except the tingling texture) while some astringency became quite apparent. I figured it had turned into what tasted like an exasperated oolong.
Then, out of nowhere on the fifth or sixth steeping everything changed dramatically again. The astringency was for the most part gone, and an overwhelmingly full flavor of delicious dark chocolate took over. Think of the llama — Uhhh, what?? Yes. Dark chocolate with the malty qualities of black tea. The texture is weaker than in initial steepings, but it is still quite tingly. In a few more later sweepings, a slight citrusy aftertaste has developed.
All in all, this tea is truly rich. Like a generous man giving what he enjoys to his friends, this tea gives out all its various favors to all who come near. This is evidenced in the leaves as they go from black to green the more you steep them. In a beautiful way they selflessly give all they have to offer to willing drinkers.
Thank you for this tea, David. I now have a dilemma — on our honeymoon a few months ago my wife bought me a new yixing teapot. Do I use it for this tea or for Shui Xian? Ahh what a wonderful dilemma, indeed…