My friend gave me a little sample of this to try. Her grandfather bought it apparently at a restaurant in New Mexico. He has since passed away, and neither she nor her father has any idea of how to find it again. She asked me what I thought, and based on her description “smells like the inside of a spice drawer,” I pointed her in the direction of a masala chai.
I was wrong, way wrong. In the sample she gave me, the leaves appear mostly homogeneous. They are rolled into little balls reminiscent of a gunpowder, but they look black. The scent is definitely very strong cinnamon.
When I brew it, it brews a light golden color. The smell isn’t necessarily cinnamon anymore. I suppose it’s still there, but what it really reminds me of is bonfire. Not Lapsang bonfire, but something more… like the smell of fresh wood and wet ground and maybe a little bit of smoke.
The wet leaves have unrolled, first into long strings, and then into full leaves. Just looking at the leaves in strings and fully unrolled, it reminds me of a Wuyi oolong.
Tasting it, it also tastes kind of like that. I do get some cinnamon in the taste, but it’s not as prominent as it is in the dry smell. I wonder if it is some cinnamon-scented Wuyi. I don’t think it’s a black, although maybe it is.
It’s a mystery! I wish I had something to recommend her that was close, but I’m really puzzled. Any idea, Steepsters?