I’ve tried this one from Bitterleaf a few times in the past few days. It’s another pretty good one. I got the sample made up of three 10g mini-cakes. The dry leafs smell incredibly sweet, with mostly floral qualities. They smell a touch fruitier but still quite sweet after a rinse.
The first two steeps are decently thick with a very sweet nectar flavor. There also could be some fruitiness in there as well.
For the next three steeps, as the chunks that were in there started to open up a bit, I had to watch out for the astringency. It came on quickly, but as long as I kept the steep times short, it was easy enough to hold in check. The astringency did still present itself on the tip of my tongue when I sipped, but was followed up by a very sweet note on the finish. Some of that sweet nectar, but also a straight sugary, whipped cream type of note as well. It was almost too sweet on the finish.
For the next six steeps, bringing the session through 11 infusions, the flavors were more pleasantly balanced. I was still doing flash steeps for most of these ones, as I found that was the only way to keep the tea from getting to astringent. There was still a very slight prick of astringency on the front of the sip, less than before, and a nectar sweet finish, but not as cloying as previous. I think the best part of this tea was most evident in these steeps: the lingering aftertaste. It was a nasal, floral flavor/aroma that remained in my mouth for a few minutes after taking a sip. The texture was still nice and thick, more creamy than oily. The texture mixed with the fruity notes caused me to write “banana” in my notes at least once.
I got another five or six steeps out of this one, by now being able to raise the steep times more drastically without worrying about any of the astringency previously looming. These infusions were lighter, with less of a deep sweetness and some higher/more airy fruity notes. A pretty good finish to the session!
I think this was a pretty good tea, but that astringency was unexpected. It’s a mean hummingbird if you don’t treat it well. I have a slight suspicion that these mini-cakes are composed of slightly more chopped material than the large cake would be, as my leaves were kind of chopped up looking. Nowhere near the extent of say a factory tuo, but much more than most of the teas I try from BLT, W2T, CLT, etc. That would explain why I need to keep the steep times fast for much of the session.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity, Nectar, Sweet