I missed making a note first time around for this tea. I broke off a small quantity of this one to enjoy now, although I intend to let most of it age a while.
Tonight, just 1.8 grams of tea in a very small gaiwan, which holds 50-60mL, and tap water at 205 degrees.
The dry leaf is quite dark, with some paler leaves twisted in with the rest. The scent is light, herbaceous, soil-like.
First a flash rinse, wait a minute or two, then a first flash infusion. Strongly herbaceous, some bitterness waiting in the wings, hint of sweet but only a hint. Leather, fresh-cut wood, umami noticeable after cooling, sipping more slowly.
2nd infusion was similar. 3rd infusion, still flash infusions, more sweetness starting to come to the fore, although the leather/earthy/umami is still dominant. 4th infusion, waited 5 seconds before starting to pour: sweet, anise/herb notes are stronger again. The leather/umami is still there but lightening, less overwhelming but still stronger than anything else. 5th, 10 seconds before pour: more sweet. 6th, similar, the long sweet finish starting to really take over. Yes, there is some bitter in there too, but my taste buds are doing a happy dance now. Nice nice nice. One more and I’ll be done for the evening [nope, make that 3, we’re up to 9 before retiring for the evening]. This is definitely one to continue tomorrow—want to see how far it can go.
10 and 11 down before I had this note open to edit: sweet, delicious, holding up well to some strong onion flavor in what I was eating before starting back with the tea. 12 was too short, about 5 seconds, just sweet water. 13, was barely patient enough to go 20 seconds (I am thirsty)—more flavor of herbs to back up the sweet—14, 15, 16, similar, beautifully balanced between sweet and herbaceous and sweet forest duff, tastebuds doing happy dance again. Then a horrible moment—I looked over for infusion 17 and the gaiwan was EMPTY. Filled, infused again, world righted itself on its axis. Whew.
18, 19, 20 still delicious, but starting to lighten up. Need to lengthen the infusions again. 21 to 2 minutes….still needs more. #22 will be 3 minutes, and was a little better. Going to push #23 for 5 minutes…..and it is again very nice. 10 minutes on #24, and it is nice, but back to nearly sweet water. Time to add water and go do some chores for an hour or two, maybe. #25 lost something to cooling down; #26 suggests the leaves are finally done.
Overall, an excellent experience, and this is while it is still only an infant tea.