Dry leaves smell faintly smokey, wet leaves smell so strongly of smoke that they smell a bit like burnt fruit. Lost my notes on the first 4 steeps due to a restart. Will try to reconstruct as best I can.
1/15s: Very little of the smokiness that made me shorten the first steep time shows up in the cup. Instead I get hay with a bit of melon.
2/20s: Same as previous, with perhaps a bit of smoke
3/30s: Pushing here just a little bit. Getting very noticable astringency, but it’s not unpleasant. Lends a crisp finish to the cup. Hay as moved to a bit more of a background note and the melon tastes are front and center.
4/35s: Actually getting some bitter notes and more of the smokiness I’d smelled in the leaves. Hay is back to the forefront with the melon sort of fading.
5/35s: Hay, smoke and melon. Still picking up a bit of bitterness.
6/30s: Hay melon and detecting a note of apple. (red delicious sort, not tart)
7/30s: Melon, apple… hay in the background on this one. Some pleasant astringency, no bitterness.
8/40s: Flavor is consistent, but any time I push past 30 – 35 seconds, that bitter note shows up. I’m not used to brewing with such a small pot nor with this particular tea so this is very experimental. Melon is prominent. Can still detect apple and hay.
9/30s: Same/similar to steeps 6 & 7
10/35s: Same/similar to steeps 6 & 7
11/40s: Big melon with hay and apple. Nice astringency is still there. Bitter note detectable, but not as biting as previous steepings.
12/50s: Interesting cup. No bitterness, but the smokiness is now showing up as more of a cacao note with hay, apple and melon, though the latter two are now more background notes just present enough make clear that you are indeed still drinking the same tea as previous.
13/60s: Ok this is turning into something both lovely and surprising. More fruit and cacao than anything with a bit of hay. More of the flavor profile I’d expect with an oolong. More rounded taste here with the only astringency present as a crispness in the finish.
14/65s: Same as previous. Lovely. May need to put this pot to more use…. or heaven forbid, buy more 80 – 100mL teapots. _
15/75s: Falling in love with this oolongs now. Wonderful steeps here. Curious if it’s just the tea or a matter of brewing a smaller pot.
16/90s: That stepped up the cacao a bit. Very nice. Still lots of fruit tempered with a bit of hay. Bit of irony that I’m enjoying such a remarkable tea on what may prove a most negatively momentous day. LOL, guess it all a matter of perspective and perception.
Flavors: Apple, Cacao, Hay, Melon, Smoke