After begging to sample this from Evol, and so much waiting, I am trying it. I love me some longan fruit teas, and when Evol described it, I was hoping for it to be very similar to the Ailoashan from Whispering Pines, which was and is one of the most popular teas on this site, and is blended into the OTHER TWO most popular teas on this site. And yes, I read the other reviews hitting at the lychee, the rose, and the allusive cocoa note that Evol and others pick up on.
It definitely has a malty, dark chocolate body for a tea that is a little bitter, but bittersweet like dark chocolate. This would make a good pair for that kind of desert in the after noon. But the cocoa-chocolate thing was the background of the tea for me, and the longan fruit was the leading heady star. If I were to have tried this blind, I would have guessed this was a rose black tea. The lychee, which is pretty damn similar to a longan fruit, is more of an accent for me than anything else though I taste it. This cup is like someone decided to pour some cocoa in hot rose water. The rose makes me think of candy wax for what-ever reason because it is so sweet.
For the brew that made me babble this way, I more or less tried to Gong Fu it beginning at 20 sec, 30, 40, 45, and the current cup at a minute. The third cup was a tad bit too strong, so I splashed the smallest amount of milk and it was actually pretty nice because it off set the bitterness and helped push the rose taste along. I could probably get another cup for a longer steep, but since I have more left of the sample, I am not too worried. I am getting more rose and dryness towards the end with a continual smooth body.
As much as I enjoyed it, I am not sure that I would drink this often. A part of me liked it more with the splash of milk. Yes, I liked a tea more with milk. This was sweet enough for me personally to not add sugar because the longan fruit processing is VERY STRONG, but some might add a dip of sugar. Next time, I think I’ll use just a little less leaf, more water, and try it western to see if that smooths it out. I do recommend it, but essentially, this tea is a rosy black type of tea with some UMPH. If that is what you’re looking for, this would be a good stop along the way.