Here is another blast from the past. I somehow completely forgot this one. I have had 4 ounces of this tea sitting around for awhile now, and after packing some up to take to a friend, totally forgot I had any left. Luckily, it hasn’t faded in storage.
I ended up preparing this one gongfu. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted powerful aromas of char, cedar, smoke, and pine tar. After the rinse, each of the above aromas intensified. I also caught slight hints of malt and cocoa. The first infusion produced a similar, albeit slightly maltier, smoother bouquet. In the mouth, the expected notes of char, pine tar, cedar, and woodsmoke were balanced by notes of malt, cream, cocoa, honey, and roasted barley. Subsequent infusions saw the smoke, tar, char, and wood mellow and the grain, malt, cocoa, cream, and honey notes become more prominent. I was just barely able to detect a hint of maple syrup on a couple of these infusions. The mineral note so common to lapsang souchong also appeared at this point as well. The later infusions emphasized mineral, pine tar, and woodsmoke notes, though I could still detect faint impressions of malt and roasted barley on the tail end of the finish.
I was not expecting much out of this tea for whatever reason, yet I ended up being pleasantly surprised. It was a very woody, smoky, malty lapsang. I could see it being a good morning or afternoon tea on a cold day. Though it was not the most complex or sophisticated lapsang souchong I have tried (I found the layering of flavors to be a little too unrefined in places), it was still good.
Flavors: Cedar, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Tar, Wood