The dry Cha gao (茶膏/tea paste) really doesn’t have a noticeable smell. After a flash rinse I get something smoky, almost coffee like.
1/5s: Sweet with a hint of coffee like smokiness. Bit of a chocolate note too.
2/15s: Sweet with a coffee like smokiness. Not much in the way of body or mouth feel. The qi in this tea comes on FAST! There is a chance that this is a result of my morning tea session.
3/30s: Stronger. Taste is some of a mix between coffee and Nu Huan green tea if you’ve ever had that. For anyone that likes coffee this would be a winner. Steeping it this strong backs the sweetness off just a tad, but in any case it’s quite good.
<Taking a break as it’s nearly 6pm and this qi may well have me up late tonight.>
4/45s: Bit of a wake up to the gao as it’s had time to dry out. Bit more traditionally yiwu puer with a touch of smokiness.
5/60s: Same as previous. Really good tea. _ I think I’ve found that sweet spot and it seems that color of the brew is a much better indicator than time. Brewed a nice soft amber you get lovely Yiwu puer. Brewed to the deep amber of a roasted oolong you get something akin to a light sweet coffee with a touch of chocolate.
6/90s: Oh man, if you can hit that sweet spot between the two extremes above you get an awesome mix of puer and cacao. :) Cha qi is already hitting in pretty hard.
7/75s: I seem to have that color nailed to get that mix of Yiwu with a bit of cacao (probably the smokiness). Looks like I have enough for only one more steep. No worries about nodding off in today’s meditation, LOL!
8/180s: Had to use my pick to get more of the past to dissolve. Looks like I’ll get one more pot. More Yiwu this time as the brew was lighter. Let’s see what we get in the last teapot.
8/210s: Talk about good to the last drop! Massive huigan in this last steep. Not sure why. Pretty awesome though. Holy cow! Suuuuuper sweet!
It seems that many time’s I’m buying teas purely out of curiosity and sometimes I get some pretty underwhelming teas, but sometimes… it’s just pure awesome! I think the smokiness is much more noticeable in the early steeps and tapers off so there is a little complexity, but man this is good!
Positives of this Chag Gao:
Taste, Consistency, Qi, No cleanup (LOL!)
The only negative I can give this tea so far is that it lacks the complexity of brewing with real leaves. That said, if you like the taste you will get consistenly good brews over time. This is particularly true when brewing by color rather than by time. Looking forward to comparing this with the Silver and Gold grade Cha gao. This was fun. _
Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Coffee, Smoke, Sweet