I can’t imagine how utterly sour, astringent and bitter this tea would’ve been several years ago.
The dry, warm, and rinsed leaf highlighted the region – beef jerky, leather, musky animal hide and tart prune. The golden-orange-brown liquor started off cloudy, smooth and mouth-filling with a fast-moving bitterness and some astringency. The sip began with tastes of subtle honey sweetness, tartness, incense, smoke, wood, floral perfume and perhaps a faint hint of butter with a meaty aftertaste. From there, the tastes lightened ever so gradually and the tartness became akin to a watered down apple cider which was also apparent in the aroma. As the flavors lessened, the liquor cleared. The bitterness grew slightly and the astringency and sourness seemed to exponentiate – tolerable with long breaks in between cups.
Luckily the interruptions were not at the hand of the sourness and astringency but were effected by the cha qi. As soon as the second steep, I could feel it growing quickly. I felt like the slowest moving grandfather clock in the world, simply existing in my own sense of time. I found myself in a slow, seated sway, a wooden ghost of some otherworld of physics. Very calm, zoned out, pulled downward (or opposite). Later I felt like an old woman, wise and very aged with warts, random sprouted hairs and at times a beard. What a trip. Backward shoulder rolls felt amazing. This transitioned into a strong pressure a few inches below my clavicle and an intense sleepiness. I had to lie down at 830 pm and fell into a narcotic trance. This was all on a full stomach. Beware drinking this tea without food.
Overall, this tea still needs plenty more aging. The leaf is surprisingly still very green with 8 years of age. I can’t say I’m drawn to the tea at this time. There are certainly highlights to its flavor profile, but I think this one needs to be stashed away and forgotten about, though lovingly checked upon like an old man living alone.