I bought this wondering how it would compare to Zhi’s Ancient Forest and found it more different than similar.

The scent of the leaf reminds me of a shoe pu erh with a bit of smoke. Once steeped, the nose reveals the malty raisin everyone keeps pointing out. But sipping, I find the robust black nature (tannins, mild astringency, and peppery notes) competing strongly with the malty goodness. I have to let it sit on my tongue to get to the fruit.

This may be due to steeping technique. I did 3 tsp per 8 oz @ boiling for over 4 minutes. I may back down the temperature and time and see if I can get enough of the milder elements without so much astringency. Overall, a great tea but not really my taste. If it is going to have fruit, I tend to want brighter fruit notes (such a apricot) in my blacks. If it’s going to be earthy, I prefer chocolate overtones.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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