Brewed Western-style. 15 second rinse. Steeping times: 30 sec, 45, 60, 120, 300.
The wet aroma smells sweetly of fresh leather, and then of creamy chocolate mousse as the leaf cools. The liquor is consistently full-bodied, thick, and sweet. The first infusion is very sugary, tasting of maple syrup. Underneath, mushrooms. A peppery finish. The second infusion – my favorite – has a wonderfully creamy texture. Sweet again, but with dark bitterness like hot cocoa. I shared this cup with my non-tea drinking dad, who liked it (seems he like shou in general).
The creaminess disappears in the third infusion, which has a distinctive leathery note. In the fourth infusion the mushrooms and pepper return, and there is also a musty note. I can’t say anything about the fifth infusion because I drank it after I ate, like, 15 handfuls of chocolate Lucky Charms. But at that point I think the leaf was overworked anyway.
This was from the shou sampler. Man, I wish I got some of this when I made my larger order a couple weeks back. I like it so much more than the 2011 blend.