Got a 20 gram sample of this to try at teafest (which was awesome, btw) along with a few other things, although we didn’t linger too long to do tea tasting as Glen and Lamu already looked super busy with the large turn out, heh.
Opening up the bag to take a sniff comes out with a very strong dried hay scent, although not musty enough to quite take it into ‘barnyard’ territory. It definitely benefits from airing out for at least a week, though (having tried it both ways), as that strong hay storage flavor kind of dominates and threatens to overwhelm the tea if you try it fresh out of the bag.
Super compressed and a bit brittle, I gave up trying to break this up for the most part and just threw a roughly 1/3-ish sized piece into my gaiwan and did a long rinse. Steeped the first steep for a good 15 seconds at least and then let it steam open some more while I went to poke the wood stove fire.
Starts off as a very sweet and mild straw taste as it’s opening up, then brews up a lovely middling thickness of darker red-brown rust soup with hints of dried date and bamboo at the edges of the hay once it’s fully opened up. Persistent undercurrent of aged taste and aroma and a dark, damp earth/soil flavor, contrary to the energy of this tea which makes my forehead feel light and airy, like it might start floating off of my shoulders at anytime (in a pleasant way! :P). There is not much bitterness or astringency to this tea at all.
My SO really enjoyed this. I enjoyed it as well, but just based on the sample pieces, I don’t know if I’d want to wage battle with this tuo to drink it very often, haha. This was very suiting to a chilly Fall day next to a crackling fire, but I think I prefer something a little less straw and a little more punchy in my general day to day tea. My favorite part of this tea was the very relaxing yet happy energy that made my cares melt far far and away and slough off like water and ducks and something else, :).
Flavors: Bamboo, Dates, Hay, Musty, Sweet, Wet Earth