This tea is all about the malt.
The leaves are pretty…like little black and gold threads. The dry leaves have a very potent smell. Sharp and malty. The smell is so powerful; I backed off the steeping time a little because I thought the tea would be too strong.
The initial taste is very flavorful, but all malt. Then, somehow, it disappears and the tea is just…tea. One second “malt explosion”…the next second “plain, regular tea”. There isn’t any of the chewy, caramel or raisin-y qualities that I somewhat expected. This is a perfect example of a tea that “needs more cowbell”. It’s a good tea. It’s just missing a little something extra to make it stand out. Hunan Black Buds is too thin…barely “medium bodied” in my opinion. I don’t think this tea could ever be bitter, no matter how long you steeped it. Big points for that. I’ll continue to play around with the parameters and see what happens. This isn’t a tea failure; it’s just a little disappointing.