This sample was provided by Nuvola. I opened the package to find the sample wrapped in enough bubble wrap to survive being stepped on by an elephant. Excellent. Next, I opened the sample wrapper and poured out the leaf to examine. It is beautiful. Rolled nuggets the size of raisins. The coloring reminded me of granite. It is kind of grayish green with some darker areas and some light green flecks.
The scent of the dry leaf is floral oolong. I also catch some light smoky notes that do not show up later in the cup. This steeps up very light yellow in color and very clear. The wet leaf aroma is vegetal. The liquor is lightly floral.
The sip starts out promising the good things to come in later steeps. It is floral of course, but not overly so. At first there is a tingle all across the tongue. This quickly passes. Then I notice the cooling sensation on my breath. As the cup cools it becomes quite buttery.
It simply amazes me to realize there is nothing added to the leaf. The intoxicating flavors come not just from the leaf but also the rugged growing conditions and the processing. I had golden monkey last night. It is also a natural tea, but it is day and night different from this one. How can such vastly different sets of flavors come from the same plant? Simply mind boggling.
The second cup I passed to a coworker. I am trying to convert him. He is a Lipton drinker and apparently isn’t ready for this one. Makes me sad, but the good news, I don’t have to share the rest with him.
The third cup is a little darker than the first, though still yellow and very clear. I notice the leaf has unfurled but is not completely relaxed. It is mostly two whole leaves and a bud. This cup has some mild green notes. There is also a spice flavor present that I can’t put my finger on. At first I thought cinnamon but now I am thinking nutmeg. It is light and I am not good at spices. The aftertaste is really long lingering.
Fourth cup smells wonderful as it steeped (between 30-40 sec). when pouring, it isn’t necessary to use a strainer.
Fifth cup still going strong (40 sec). The taste has not diminished but this is where I am stopping.
This tea when converted to dollars is about $10.50 for 50g plus shipping. I generally use 2.5g per session so this would make 20 sessions of tea. It easily went 5 steeps. That takes it down into the $0.10/cup range. Depending on shipping this is pretty affordable. It is also an excellent oolong.