The dry Cha gao (茶膏/tea paste) has almost not aroma. Perhaps it depends on humidity or dryness of the paste. After a flash rinse I get an aroma I can best describe as smoked dates, but it still has that coffee like quality. Just picking up a sweet note with this one.
1/5s: Straight away the first thing I notice with this one is the clarity of the brew. The other two grades had a bit of cloudiness to them. In terms of taste it’s the same sweet yiwu sheng with notes of coffee and cacao.
2/30s: Got distracted. Another thing that I’m noticing between grades is how quickly and easily the cha gao dissolves. Mmmm and that huigan that only showed up in the last steep with the previous two grades is already apparent in this steep. Despite the darker brew (due to longer steep) the smoky/coffee note is subdued giving a much more chocolate/cacao note.
3/45s: Nice crisp finish. Great huigan. Sweet cacao and a bit of coffee throughout. Very smooth mouthfeel. I know it may be more pronounced because I haven’t eaten yet, but the cha qi packs a nice punch.
4/60s: Same a previous
5/90s: About the same as previous though there’s more cacao and the huigan has kicked up a notch.
6/360s: Wanted to finish this off, so I gave it time to fully dissolve. Gold is noticeably is super clear. Pure cacao! Super sweet huigan! I’m curious why it comes out so sweet at the end. Really good!
Something that I didin’t note in the previous reviews is that after the flash rinse, the cha gao sticks pretty firmly to the wall of the brewing vessel. So, after you rinse, immediately tap the bottom of the vessel so the paste settles near the bottom because you only have 5-10s. After that you can add water and pour tea without worry of the bits of gao swirling about or falling into your tea cup or pitcher. Also of note between grades is that there is a tiny bit of plant matter (leaves, tea dust) in the gao that decrease as you go up in grade.
Flavors: Cacao, Coffee, Sweet