I got this as a 5 for 5 sample, and it was definitely what I wanted. I actually had this one before the Roasted Laoshan Oolong. They are approximately the same tea in terms of taste, especially to someone who is a little bit new to tea, but to me, this tea is considerably rosier while the oolong is like a sweeter chocolate version.
Another thing about this sample, really the verdant teas I’ve had in general is that the tea tastes slightly different from when I first opened the bag to when I’ve had it for a few days. I brewed the near 3-4 grams of this tea both times within the same gongfu parameters. This going to be full of compare and contrast, as you may or may not notice in the beginning.
Test steep-15 seconds with water just under boiling. First time with the newly opened bag reminded me distinctly of rose water which I deeply enjoyed, but for whatever reason, reminded my mother of soap. The other time I drank this, the rose was still there but had more of the cocoa notes that typically describe it.
Steep two at 45 seconds in the original sampling, it was a very light fusion between rose and cocoa. I could see why it tasted like soap-it reminded me of a feminine luxury bath salt with chocolates on the side. The other time the cocoa was more prominent and the rose not as present, a little bit more malty, but with a weird wine, grape, or currant quality. I couldn’t quite place it, but there was a berry note hidden in there.
Steep 3 I tried at 35, but too light, upped to a minute and half. Rose and cocoa there yet lighter both times that I had it, though the later sampling had more of the weird grape or berry-ness. Steep 4 at 3 minutes, it tasted like rose water both times.
I liked this one, but I’m preferential with it. I personally preferred the oolong because it was sweeter. I should note that my expectations were pretty high with this one with the reviews on steepster, and my experience with the Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines. I might have to try this one again. Still something that I would recommend to almost anyone. This appeals more to black tea drinkers for sure, or ones who like sweeter and more robust flavor without astringency. A newer drinker might be opened up to a new world or underwhelmed.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Rose, Sweet, White Grapes