Prep: 100cc gaiwan, full to brim (didn’t weigh), boiling water, 10s steeps until the color fades and then chase it
Sessions with this tea: 6+
Taste: Reading previous reviews I was like “what? plum? this is all roast” but then there it was. This is much heavier on the roast notes — fire and coal and spice — than what I’ve been drinking lately. And yes, this tiny nutty fruitiness with a sour note pokes a head out from steeps 4-6 or so, then fades back in. The nuttiness lingers like a slightly bitter pecan, and the last several steeps brings out more and more sweetness, which fades away slowly. My second session with it I appreciated the roast notes more, since I wasn’t drinking it immediately after a session with gaoshan.
Body: The thickness is good and offsets some of the high roast, if this were a thin body tea I think I would not like it. This had me salivating afterwards also, which was interesting. The energy hit me hard and I thought my head suddenly expanded in size.
Overall this is an enjoyable tea. The roast is a bit heavy-handed at the front, but ends up adding complexity rather than dumbing down the tea to roast notes. It has a nice evolution from savory and smoky to sweet, with that short-lived little sour fruit note in the middle.
Edit: I let the second half of my sample sit around a bit before finishing. Some of the roast notes died off, and the throatiness and body of the tea stands out a bit more. I think at this level, the roast is perfect for this tea, and there is good rou gui flavor. This is a very enjoyable tea overall. My only complaint is that it steeps out quickly, and I haven’t been in a position to try boiling it.