2003 Farmer's Cooperative (Mt. Banzhang) Wild Arbor Sheng
Dry Leaf: Very dark, large curled leaf, unbroken with longer stems. Loose hand-pressed ball of tea.
Aroma: Smoke of a campfire deep in a wet forest of redwood and eucalyptus after fresh rain.
Tea Color: Small floating down gives this Chardonnay color a darker opacity that turns orange in sunlight.
Taste through early steepings: Immediately creamy with a tingling sweetness like the finest spring Gyokuro. Assertive notes of toasted walnut and hazelnut linger in the throat. As this continues steeping, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom spice with mucovado brown sugar play across the palate.
Taste in middle to late steepings: The intriguing muscovado sweetness carries through even as the intense tingling texture subsides. The spice of early steepings slowly moves towards baked apple. Very late in steeping, the texture of licorice root comes through across the tongue accompanied by notes of malt and barley.
Steeped Leaf: Enormous dark green leaves that are thick and strong with abundant buds and long stems.