I’ve had this tea a while via Phoenix Tea as the vendor and I was thoroughly impressed. It was one of the sweetest black teas that I’ve had, possessing a woodsy maple quality throughout each brew kung fu. I’ve used increments of 15 seconds mostly, though I’ve began with 30 seconds and worked my way up to longer minutes. I still have yet to try this western, but I prefer short steeps anyway.
This tea was on the lighter to darker end that I like and its white tea origins were fairly apparent in the body. I did get a little bit of the specific earth and autumn leave quality I associate with some whites in conjunction with the overall maple character. Dark wood, grains, sweet cocoa, and molasses pop up overall. The cocoa is sweet enough for me to count as the elusive chocolate note. I still think it’s more maply and molassesy personally.
I like this tea better with less leaves at around a 3 gram to 6 or 8 oz ratio because its surprising strength for smaller leaves. If I brew it stronger or for longer, the maple wood quality dominates making it a little bit dry. The shorter steeps or minimal leaves prevents that.
If the price were ever slightly cheaper, this could rank as my favorite hong cha because it has all the qualities I like, and it was less bitter than some of my Dianhongs. At the same time, I could get it cheaper in bulk from Phoenix Herb Co. I recommend that everyone should try this at least once because it is a great quality tea.