The leaf on this one is preeeetty! Very unique looking and loosely rolled or just giant leaf in the style of rolled oolongs with variegated yellows in there. I got hit by a whole lotta hong must when I opened the bag for a sniff first time, but on my second and third sniffs a distinctly sharp-sweet citrus that is characteristic of jingmai puerh (in my experience, at least) was very evident. Exciting!
Interestingly, the color of the brew on this is much like you would imagine if you took a hong and young puerh and mixed them together—a reddish, neon orange that corresponds to the flavor. The harder this is pushed, the more malt and bitter hong character was evident in the rich red hong soup that results; the shorter and lighter the steeps, the more of the puerh sweetness and flavors came through in the neon orange gold liquor.
Flavorwise, this tastes and smells a lot like how it smells at the very start for the first steep before it really opens up—hong malt with a citrus edge. Second and third steeps continues the hong trend with bitter cocoa and that malty hong-bread flavor traced by sweet and caramel edges. Steep 4 tastes like it is already starting to fade, doesn’t seem like much longevity on this one so I picked up the temp from 197 to 207 at steep 7 and steeped a bit longer, which gets more of a clean sheng taste out, backed by a cleaner malt body with only a trace of red to the soup now. Still not quite a revival of flavor but quite different, however, I ran out of time and stopped it here.
Steeps 2 and 3 were my favorite from this one as I’m a fan of chocolate hongs. This does change quite a bit thought just over the course of this session as I messed with it, and I’d be curious to try this from the start at a higher temp next time or to western this and see how that changes things. Not much energy that I noted, but an interesting experience all the same.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Citrus, Cocoa, Malt, Sweet