First time drinking this tea in a while. Like most bricks, it is challengingly compressed, and one of the teas that inspired me to buy some particularly pointed letter openers. Success! several grams of tea have just soaked up their ‘flash’ rinse quickly in my gaiwan. Earthy, sweet, fruity, plummy scents arise—makes me want to eat it as much as drink it.
Greg warns about overly long steeps at first—suggesting a possibility of off flavors. I find nothing like, but perhaps this is in part due to letting it ‘air out’ loosely wrapped in my puerh drawer. The first two steeps—no more than 30 seconds between the—are combined in my small yunomi, and deep red-brown liquor, and I want to drink fast but am waiting….tap, tap, tapping impatient feet—for it to cool. And the first sip is rewarding—deep, sweet, lovely, all the things promised in the smell of the wet leaf. And nothing whatsoever ‘off’ about it.
The leaves are still swelling and will eventually fill a good part of the gaiwan, so this should have a lot of steeps in it.
10 or so steeps in, the gaiwan is at least 1/3 full with very broken up leaves. It still requires a bit of care to avoid oversteeping—and responds well to a little dilution if I overdo it. Earthy, sweet, fruity, plummy. Rich body. Compared to the Norbu private label Lao Tou Cha nugget brick, this is an earthier tea, but equally delicious in a different way. And like that tea, it is very potent due to the density—a little goes long way. I really thought it was such a thin little sliver when I dropped it in the cup….
Many infusions later—certainly more than 20, maybe closer to 30—it is getting on towards sweet water, that gentle ending, but this with what are still very short infusions. Will give it longer to see if I can coax more out of it before we’re done. …… 1.5 L into it, the kettle is empty, but the tea leaves still have some sweet & spicy scent left.