From Dark Matter 2016 :) I used the whole 6g sample in my 100mL gaiwan. I was worried about this one after reading some of the reviews, and then that worry only increased when I smelled the wet leaves and was hit with the aroma of a cigarette butt. Thankfully it tasted a lot better than it smelled! And the lid of my gaiwan did smell pretty decent, like tobacco.
The flavor of the first steep was of smoke, tobacco and maybe burnt grass (the roast showing?) and a sweet mineral finish. Next steep was more strongly tobacco which lingered in the mouth after a roasty finish. Next I got sweet mineral and tobacco with a more viscous tea soup. The next steep saw the mineral flavor change to become almost salty, and was followed with bittersweet pine sap finish. My next steep was vegetal and soupy, like a thick broth. Then I got pine with a sweet/salty finish – it kind of reminded me of seaweed. Unfortunately, this is where the finish started to go a little south. The last three or four steeps had a sweet brown sugar/maple front with a smoky finish that became kind of unpleasant and dusty feeling if that makes any sense.
My steep times were 10s rinse, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 75s, 2m, 5m. I was surprised with how much I liked this tea until the weird finish started getting in the way of my enjoyment. I may consider adding a box of this to a YS order at some point. One of the more interesting aspects was how much this tea changed from steep to steep. I think I even missed some subtleties by increasing my steep times a bit too quickly. I can see how some would dislike this tea, and can even imagine how AllanK got a kind of chemical flavor from it. The taste was quite strong and unusual.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Mineral, Pine, Roasted, Salty, Seaweed, Smoke, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Vegetal, Wood