OK, let’s do this right today:
Dry leaf: very little aroma, as I find to be typical of tuocha as they get packed so tightly.
Wet leaf: There is a surprising dry sharpness here. An almost sandy, beach bleached drift wood kind of thing happening. I don’t know as I’ve ever caught that aroma in a tea before.
And to be clear, when I say sand here, and below, I am not referring to sediment or cloudiness in the cup. The steeps are surprisingly clean and clear for a tuocha.
Long rinse to open the tuocha. They have completely fallen apart by the end of the first steep.
First steep was dark amber in color and was full of a light, round caramel sweetness.
Second steep was much darker, almost molasses in color, and the flavor opened up dramatically to include wet wood and a sandy finish.
Third steep is so dark I can’t see the bottom of the cup (wider than it is deep, so this is really saying something) and the flavor softens again, still intense, but not sharp or dry. Hui gan begins strongly at the back of the throat. So much so it is almost like a post nasal drip symptom.
Fourth steep, the color lightens a bit, no longer at all red, purely a chocolate brown, now. The flavor opens up to old leather and puffed rice.
Fifth steep is still chocolate in color, with the flavor remaining strong, however the sweetness is giving way to a kind of tangy quality.
Sixth is a longer steep time and we’re back to dark amber and those sandy notes again.
Seventh – everything beginning to soften. I’ll get a few more steeps out of this to enjoy, but I think we’ve hit the limit of anything interesting going to happen here.
(Context, I started a new role two weeks ago in a different division of a company I’ve worked at for nearly a decade. The day I started, the office my new boss works out of was hit with a surprise FDA audit which lasted two weeks. So, I barely got five minutes of his time in an environment where I have a lot to learn, and need to hit the ground running. By the time I did my previous review of this tea, I was kind of losing my mind with panic as it felt like there must be something huge I should be doing that I didn’t know I should be doing.
All is well now, and all should remain well.)