The tuo has a smell unlike any raw puer I have encountered, almost like shu. There is an undercurrent of the distinctive Xiaguan aroma, but not as strong as in dry-stored tuos of similar age. The leaf is age-darkened almost to black. The dry leaf in a warmed gaiwan has the Xiaguan scent (tobacco? leather?) a little more strongly.

The tea is not old enough for the soup to be really red: it’s more of an orangey-bronze. The rinse and early steeps leave more of a floral dry cup scent than I have found with other Xiaguan teas, though this one is probably higher-grade starting material than any of the others I’ve tried.

It is going pretty good by the 3rd infusion. The characteristic Xiaguan taste and roughness is there, but is not overwhelming. There is more sweetness than I have previously found in Xiaguan tea, and some floral notes near the end of each cup. How much of this is down to the quality of the tea v. the storage I cannot guess. I am not tasting humid storage at all.

Things fall off pretty rapidly after about the 7th steep, and by the 9th I am lengthening the infusion time, and again after the 11th. Still, considering that I would discard other Xiaguan tuos by that time it’s doing pretty good. There is still some tartness, sweetness, and that distinctive Xiaguan whatever-it-is when I’m up to 2-minute steeping times, at which point I give it up.

I needed some powerful tea to get my head working, and this one did the trick. At the price, I think I would rather drink higher-grade young sheng from Yunnan Sourcing or White2Tea, but am glad I bought this.

Flavors: Stonefruit, Sweet, Tart

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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