A first trial of this one this evening was interesting. The catalog description noted chocolate and roasted notes, and those were certainly present in the finely broken up bits of dark toasted leaf and stem.
I used 3 grams of leaf to about 3 ounces of water, in a preheated kyusu, with water about 195 degrees. The first infusion at 30 seconds was lightly fruity but also toasty, and reminded me mostly of the Hwang Cha Korean ‘oolong’ from Hankook—in that mellow combination of earthy/toasty sweetness with fruity plummy highlights. The second infusion, also 30 seconds, was more reminiscent of a black tea, with stronger astringency coming to the fore. I had to dilute this infusion to enjoy it, with about 50% more water than originally infused, to drop the astringency to a tolerable level, but because I was eyeballing the water level in a measuring cup to try to get the right tea/water ratio, I might have simply added too little water.
I decided at that point to stop for the night, and to try again tomorrow with a little larger quantity of leaf, so that the infusions will fill my 5 oz kyusu, and I won’t have to guess on the water quantities.
Overall, my first impression is that this one might be of great interest to those who mostly drink black teas, as something less radically different than matcha or sencha, but still a quite unique japanese tea. I’m not sure whether a little tweaking will make this as much a favorite as the Hwang Cha, a tea that took a little while to grow on me, or not.