I picked this for a test run of the wonderful little gaiwan I received from Teavivre today. So this is not a review exactly of the leaf as much as the experience. 90 ml looks so tiny by western tea drinking standards (3 oz). First I washed and heated the gaiwan and added 1 tsp of leaf – about 2.5 g. Not exactly sure how much I should use. I boiled my water, filled the gaiwan, covered, and steeped 10-15 sec each time for several steeps.
The fun part was pouring into a cup. Surprisingly much easier than I expected. Fingers under saucer, thumb on top of lid, I gently squeezed and slightly pulled the lid to allow the liquor to pour. I found it very natural. I never lost a drop! The last steep for today was about 30 sec and I noticed the lid became a little hot but not so much that I was afraid of losing my grip.
As you probably know I am a Splenda junkie. Well, unless I pour several steeps together, adding a packet would not work, so I had to go all natural with this one. That is another reason I chose it as I noted earlier with western style adding sweetener did nothing for the flavor.
I noticed the flavors were more subtle than with a long steep. What I detected as mint sensation with western style I now sense as mineral. The leather is noticeable but less intense. Early on this seemed kind of lightly nutty that became more woodsy in later steeps. The flavors popped more when I allowed the cup to cool. That is almost always true for me. I don’t like my tea really hot. The gaiwan actually helps with this as 3 oz cools a lot quicker than 12.
My final observation is on the color. Longer western steeps produce nearly inky dark cups. The gaiwan produced cups ranging from amber to deep reddish orange.
This was a lot of fun. I look forward to many more long sessions.