From the 2016 Sheng Olympiad.
I have a new year’s resolution that I’m trying to start early. In order to drink up all my samples, I’m going to sit down and have a formal session, with tasting notes and Steepster entry every single day. Lately I’ve been just grabbing something to drink while I work or watch TV so don’t really focus on the tea. Since I’m not paying enough attention to the tea, I tend to drink average-quality teas that I own a lot of, and leave the samples alone (all ~200!). So, let’s see how long it takes me to drink down all my samples – longer than I think: I have samples on the way from Farmer-Leaf teas, and intend to order the 2017 Sheng Olympiad (and probably everything else the Liquid Proust puts together).
So, after this long introduction, what about the tea? My first sip was very bitter. Usually I don’t like bitter tea, but this was also deep and rich with overtones of tar and fruit that I found enjoyable. The second steep lost some of the fruit, though it was still there.A short steep didn’t reduce the bitterness, so I decided to embrace it: think of this as the espresso of teas!.
Around the 5th steep, sweetness began to challenge the bitterness for dominance, but the finish stayed bitter. The interesting flavors faded along with the bitterness. An interesting tea, but not one I would purchase.