My order from Norbu Tea arrived and I am thrilled!
As an affordable indulgence, what I got were 10 gram samples, shipping was only $3.00 and super fast from Texas to California. It’s so great being able to try a smaller quantity of tea before you commit to a larger size.
Most of my samples are oolongs which they recommend steeping in a gaiwan, but this one can be steeped Western style so I decided to try it. I’m willing to try any smoked tea and this one sounded so intriguing. Tea smoked over dried sugarcane? Sign me up! When I opened the package the black wiry leaf smelled like roasted chocolate. woooo!
So this got steeped in an infuser mug, their recommendations are for 3-4 minutes and I believe my steeping time approached that. I got a dark amber color of tea and the leaves smell earthy and lightly smoked.
The cup is a dark amber and smells a bit like a lapsang. My first sip of tea is lovely, a sweet infusion that reminds me of caramel and wood. It’s only in the finish of the tea that the delicate smoke becomes subtly apparent, along with a lovely sweetness that is lingering in my mouth. This is also oddly relaxing, or maybe I’m just falling asleep after lunch. ;-)
This reminds me of a really light lapsang in that it has the same tangy sort of barbeque-y element, but since the smoke is very light this would be a great entry into smoky teas for someone who’s afraid of them. :P
Norbu’s note mentions a slight astringency which I am not picking up on too much. Overall this is a really neat tea with a lot of different elements to it and I could certainly see myself ordering the full size. So glad I tried it and can’t wait for the weekend when I can try gonfu’ing my new wuyi and fenghuang oolongs!
p.s. I also got a lighter, but still lovely second steep out of it.