I just realized that there are so many reviews of these teas under What-Cha. I was surprised for sure as soon as I smelled the dry leaf, it’s the spiciest postfermented tea I’ve had. I didnt find it as weird as other people did though, and I didn’t notice any real wodui element. Maybe wood rot but not fish rot or fungus. I was probably primed for this by white2tea Lumber Slut, which seems similar to me in the things its doing and the reactions from people.
What rang true for me was the review that said it’s not like a wet piled ripe, but more like a raw that has been wetted and left alone for a while. Maybe that wetted tea was aired out or given drier storage in Hatvala’s hands, because it tastes pretty clean now. Just lumbery. That said I can be very oblivious about some bad tastes.
Mouthfeel is thick, it has more of a vegetal character than any shou I’ve tried, it’s spicy and lumbery, and it has a very subdued choco smoothness hiding in the backstage. For me the objectionable element was a taste of dust. I don’t think it’s actual dust (the liquor cleared out after two rinses), but the irritation in the nose when fine dust gets in. It’s a dry tea, but it stays just on the cusp of holding together in the main steeps. Energy is nice and strong. I always get a jolt from cooked type teas even though people say they have hardly any caffeine and no qi.