2 Tasting Notes
Using 7.10g in 4 oz municipal tap water for seven steeps, starting at thirty seconds, at or near boiling in a gaiwan. The combined time of all was six minutes, like ISO 3103; it went 30-30-40-50-60-70-80 (seconds).
The tea expresses an incredible range for a black tea, especially one undergoing multiple steeps. There is a sweetness that appears early on, followed by smokiness, a tiny bit of bitterness in the middle, lightening to something resembling an oolong as it nears the end. The tea changes its shade slightly, going more yellow as the steeps increase. It’s a very interesting effect.
The tea also shifts gears as it continues steeping: It is aggressive on the first two, and then cycles into almost complete passivity, nonetheless retaining its iconic Assam flavour and continuing to produce very good cups of tea. I get the impression I might have even gotten more steeps out of the Assam, had I kept adding time to it.
Using 2.50g in 4 oz municipal tap water for six minutes at or near boiling (ISO 3103) in a gaiwan.
This tea is extremely good for pu’erhs I’ve tasted before, but then, I’ve been mostly tasting middling pu’erhs from Davids and Teaopia, and none directly from a cake.
The tea brews extremely dark, with a little of that pink shade I’ve come to associate with pu’erhs. The taste is very bold, with no trace of bitterness despite a full six minute steep. My semi-untrained palate seems to think there are notes of leather, tobacco, grapes and hickory smoke in the tea. There’s a definite sweetness to it, underlying the almost chocolatey richness. This tea, I would say, is not balanced in flavour, in that everything leads you deeper into the sweet-dark side of things; there is no intervening bright note to accentuate it.
The tea pairs extremely well with chrysanthemum flowers; I’m using fresh, not dried, organic chrysanthemum petals, about half of the tea by weight. There’s a lightness that the mums add to the tea that helps to balance the deep richness of the tea, that bright note accentuating all the darkness.