Alright, so I was going to wait a few days to try this one western style, but then I got really curious to see how it compared to gongfu brewing…so here we are!
Smell: I’m already picking up slight differences in the smell of this one. It smells much richer, and more like freshly baked brownies than it had in any of the gongfu steepings. The caramel, vanilla/cream, and cinnamon notes are really nice here, too. All of them are coming out and melding together. The smell is actually reminding me of these caramel turtle brownies my mom makes from time to time…YUM. The roasted smell I got before is still present, and it’s quite nice with the cocoa notes.
Taste: Wow. This a bit of a different taste then I’d gotten previously. The chocolate notes are very prominant, with those light cream aspects (almost like a whipped cream) creating an almost milky aspect. I’m only picking up very light cinnamon and caramel notes here; the cinnamon is somewhere near the end of the sip and the caramel is mild throughout, but most noticible in the center. I’m still picking up the grain-esque flavor I had before… wheat? I’m not sure how to describe it. The toasty aspect is also present throughout the entire sip. It’s smooth, slightly creamy, and very chocolatey. I’d say the cocoa notes this time around were somewhere between dark and milk chocolate.
Overall, I think I prefer this brewed western style (Thanks again, Bonnie). However, I still don’t know if it’s a cupboard staple. It is good, no doubt about that. It is also complex and unique, which I love. I just don’t know if I love this one as a whole. I may increase the steeping time a bit next time around – also, when I have more time, I’d love to try resteeping. Maybe I’ll add some cream to it as well.
Increasing the rating slightly to reflect this steeping.
Regardless, I’m glad I tried this one.
NOTE: I liked the flavor a little more once it cooled.