I received a sample of this tea with a different order. Taste-testing it using 3.5g for 1dl infused with boiling water for at least 5min, keeping the leaves inside the steeping and tasting vessel throughout the tasting.
Dry leaf: This tea presents itself as dark brown, thightly rolled ‘pearls’ with a lustrous hue. The pearls are of various sizes, containing smaller broken parts and some sticks as well. The smell of the dry leaf was very faint with traces of dark honey, some roasting notes (charcoal and ashes) and a light acidity remniscient of leather.
Warm leaf: Placing the tea leaves in the prewarmed vessel intensifies the smell of honey and the sour smell of leather. Additionally there was now a light flowery sweetness.
Wet leaf: After giving the tea leaves a quick rinse, they already started opening up. The roasted notes were much more present than in the warm of dry leaves. The flowery scent of the warm leaves was still present rounding off the stinging scent of coal and ashes from the roasting.
After 5min of infusing the tea I started to smell the liquid with a porcelain spoon: It really had the charcoal and ashes scent that hit your nose right away. The scent started to build up little by little revealing more of the flowery notes and dried fruit. There was a lingering sweetness left on the spoon reminding of dark honey and dried dates.
Liquid: The tea presented itself with a reddish brown and clear liquid. Form the looks of the leaves I would have expected it to become a lot darker. The taste presented with wooden notes and a light sourness reminding me more of a chinese red tea than oolong. Surprisingly the liquid did not taste as sweet as I expected, it was ruther dull. The mouthfeel was very smooth and watery with a light adstringency. There were some smaller particles of broken leaves in the liquid but it was not bitter. It had a light menthol tinge sticking to my teeth and a little dryness on the tongue and lips. The aroma building up at the back of the nose had a very typical oolong flavour of dried flowers and fruit but without overpowering sweetness. It reminded me of dried sunflowers. I would say that the taste is quite simple, not exceptional but all in all round and balanced with a little dryness that might be due to the roasting process.
Spent tea leaves: The tea leaves did not open up completely during the tasting, so I made a second infusion and steeped for 25mins but they did not open up further than before. The material is made of buds and leaves of a more or less constant size. The colour of the leaves was still a homogenic dark brown, not much colour variation in the individual leaves, presenting a completely oxidised picture. The leaves felt a little stiff and sturdy, they ripped easily upon traction not having any elasticity. They were very thin and did not increase much during the steeping process. The leaves are broken containtin holes and broken edges, some woody stems particles were mixed into the tea. The taste of the spent leaves was very faint, with a little bitterness but I was not able to discern any other flacours from the leaves.
This tea is simple and good. To me it seemed to be more like a chinese red tea at first tasting it on my tongue with the typical aroma of oolong building up slowly. The acidity and dryness might result from oxidation and roasting. An overall enjoyable tea that I would recommend to anyone who likes roasted oolongs.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Dates, Honey, Roasted