Hmmm, dry I’m not getting much from these leaves. Upon opening the bag it just smells a little bit clean. But, boy does that change with hot water. From the moment these touch water the smell is intoxicating and fills the air with the aroma of cinnamon bread dough. The liquor is a dark amber red that matches the richness of the scent. At first sip this tea.. makes my tongue feel a bit numb and tingly? That’s unexpected! Second and third sips are almost overwhelmingly rich and sweet, with a flavor that feels comforting and familiar, but I can’t place it. At the end of the sip there’s a bitterness but not an unpleasant one — a soft, earthy bitterness. It feels like an integrated part of the flavor rather than a mistake of over-steeping.
For the first 3 infusions this tea is incredibly bold, with sips that start sweet with a doughy heft and end with an earthy bitterness. It’s delectable, but it’s like a rich chocolate cheesecake — I can only handle a little bit before I start to feel over-saturated with flavor.
For the last 3 infusions the tea lightens. The flavor isn’t so heavy that it feels like it’s pulling you down into the earth and turns more refreshing and invigorating. The flavor as it first hits my tongue is sweet with spicy notes of cinnamon and maybe a hint of clove. In the finish I can finally taste that sparkling quality that David mentions. Every sip ends so clean.
This was an interesting first experience with Pu-Erh. I feel like there’s this whole other side of tea that I’m just now tasting. I’m glad I tried brewing this tea by the Xingyang workshop recommendations, but I think in the future I might be served better by a brew that isn’t quite so bold.