1.5 tsp for 100 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel basket in small ceramic cup
First thought on smelling the freshly opened dry tea—fennel. Somewhat sweet, rather than vegetal, though none of the berry notes sometimes found with tamaryokucha.
Dry leaf warmed in cup. Could have used a longer warming, but the smell was nonetheless intriguing, as always. Seemed both darker and cleaner than the Mellow Monk mecha and shiraore (“Blissful Buds” & “Frosty Garden”) that I’ve been having.
01 (1m00s; 155F): Not terribly fragrant liquor. Sometimes that comes across more on the second steeping. Medium astringency, with a somewhat upfront mineral flavor. The finish is closer to what I would expect from this tea, though darker like the warmed dry leaf. None of the brightness or sweetness that I enjoy.
Seems like this one will take some figuring out as far as preparation.
02 (20s; 150F): Tried going lighter on this steeping to see if I could lessen the astringency, potentially allowing lighter flavors through. Nice color, and a slightly more discernable nose, with some herb-y notes. The mouth is still pretty unexciting, though on this steeping I’m getting some great semi-sweet herb flavors and a little bit of tang on the long finish. A little bit of “sweet salivation” / cooling.
03 (45s; 158F): Leaf acquired much more seaweed smell. Mouth has a very pleasant, clean feel and taste. Very nice actually. A little more of that tang picked up on the finish of the second steeping, this time in the mouth, pleasantly playing with the herb flavor. Interesting how little sweetness is present. There is definite potential in this tea.