After looking through the reviews I saw Bonnie had the similar experience of tasting ash and decided to try it western style hoping for better results like her.
First and seconds steeps: 12 oz cup, boiling water, 1 minute. I got the sweet tobacco, a juicy texture, a hint of ash, vegetal note in the background and a slight mouthfeel. Still some ash in there, but not mouth coating, not nearly.
Third steep: 1 minute 30 seconds. No ash! Sweet, tobacco, vegetal, juicy. Definitely getting better but I’m disappointed about not having the almond note in there. That’s what kept me going gaiwan style was that wonderful almond note!
Fourth steep: 1 minute 30 seconds. Again sweet, tobacco, vegetal, juicy, no ash, and a hint of almond. The almond may just be my mind trying to make it appear because I want to taste it that much!
Fifth steep: 1 minute 30 seconds. Juicy, sweet tobacco is fading but still present, vegetal, no ash, no almond. also, strong tingling on the tip of the tongue in the aftertaste.
Overall this one is a mixed bag for me. I got much better results brewing western style but I really wanted to taste those almond notes again from gaiwan style in this without the ash. I also wanted to taste what I was smelling in the dry leaf, that rich dessert smell. Unfortunately I didn’t care for this that much because of all that. This might turn out better for me if someone else made it for me.