When I removed the toucha from the sealed bag, the aroma was incredibly bread. Smells so good. I started with a 40 s steep. The first cup was light and tasted like hazelnut. No bitterness and no astringency that I noticed. Second cup at 30 s was darker and more complex. It started more like a raw pu-erh without the harsh bitterness. It is thick and syrupy with a sweet fruity aftertaste and leaves a sticky lip feel. With the 3rd cup at 30 s, I got a stronger cup, cheek tingle, and a bitterness that I like – not the nasty harsh kind. When it was hot, I thought I briefly tasted leather. As it cooled it became more mineral and almost cave like. In each cup the cooler it got the more I caught the hazelnut flavor.
I did not notice anything I would consider floral and certainly not like any lotus I’ve tried. That doesn’t surprise me. The ripe rose toucha has no rose taste but is one of my favorite ripe touchas. This is definitely a more complex tea than I was expecting. I am looking forward to several more cups – the toucha is loose but largely still intact.