I call the taste “lilies”!!! I love all the comments on this tea, trying to explain its aroma and flavor and feeling. A few years ago I bought a bit of this type of tea from another source and at first I didn’t think I liked it, but then I found myself drawn back to trying it again and again. From the very first, my thoughts went to lilies. It tasted like lilies! Or how I would think they would taste based on their aroma. Smell a lily, it is pungent, strange, not unpleasant, but not sweet like other flowers. A lily is not as bitter smelling as a tulip. Originally the tea I bought did not mention charcoal, and I was new to oolongs, so the only thing I could use to decribe it was lilies. Every time I drank it, the vision of lilies got stronger. I grow lilies, Asian ones and daylilies and Easter lilies. The tall stalk lilies are stronger smelling, and when they are in bloom their aroma hits me every time I walk out my front door. The tea was my lilies! Soon I loved this tea so much that I hoarded it and was afraid to finish that last bit. Why? because the place I got it from didn’t have it anymore! They had something “similar”, but it was awful compared to my beloved “lily tea”. It was bitter, and not of lilies, and could not take multiople infusions. Then I found Gingko Bay on ebay. They had samplers of many oolongs, and with some lovely discussions I chose my samples. Tada!!! here are my lilies!!! The it is it, and in fact, even better as I still did have a little of my old tea left and compared them., This one was smoother and lingered better. So I finished off that last bit of old tea and am on to a new, better tea and a great source, lifeinteacup.com (or ginkgo bay on ebay).
In the winter, when the lilies are sleeping, I can drink their aroma with this tea, and think of the next coming june! You can all have your charcoal, I will be drinking lilies! :)
PS – this tea can take sitting in the yixing pot for long periods without getting too bitter for me, and this is an important trait for me. I start sipping it at 5-6 minutes or later, and continue for as long as 30 minutes or until it is gone. I don’t even mind it cool. Then I re-infuse. If I infuse a third time, I may add a few fresh pieces to perk it up a bit, I like my lilies to produce a full bouquet!