I tasted a lot of fermentation flavor in the first four steeps, which cleared completely by steep six. The fermentation on this one is very clean with no “off” smells or tastes. Spicy, woody and sweet were the dominant notes, with the sweetness landing between dark fruits and caramel for me. There were no bitter notes after the fermentation cleared.
I rode this session all the way down to thin brown water over 12 steeps just to see what subtleties the leaf held. It got sweeter and spicier as the session went on. The first nine steeps were the best. I picked up some mild astringency in steeps 10 and 11, but strangely it disappeared in steep 12.
The leaves were mostly broken, but larger than gong ting. As expected this tea is not quite as powerful as a gong ting, but it’s not too far behind. The leaf quality as expressed in the cup was very good to excellent, making this a cake I’ll stash in the “Florida pumidor” for two or three years and revisit with the expectation of it becoming something great.
Flavors: Caramel, Spices, Sweet, Wood