This tea is a partial embodiment of the Central Valley in California.
I recommend brewing this western. The concentration of flavor and color sits at the bottom of the cup so I don’t think it’s well suited for grandpa. The leaves are spindly and clump together so it’s difficult to get the recommended 2tsp. Rather, I just line the bottom of my glass with a thin layer. 195-200F, 8oz, 3/5/7 min. Definitely don’t go above 200F or you’ll be lashed with drying astringency.
March 2018 harvest. The dry leaf, as stated, is spindly and clumpy, dark brown with a good amount of orange-gold needles. Visually appealing. It smells like roasted almonds with a decent amount of pungency including an odd green vinegary pickle.
The liquor is clear, bright, roasty and slightly earthy both in aroma and taste. In the mouth I get orange, apricot, honey-roasted/toffee almonds, hot leather, hot dry oatgrass and earth, and walnut and oak woodiness with their accompanying tannins. The mouthfeel is soft yet drying. The astringency is strongest in the second steep. Spent leaves and needles are pretty small and healthy.
If you’re not a fan of astringency, this may not be a good tea for you. I, however, would like to make this my daily afternoon drinker for the hot months.