This tea is chopped—chopped, and compressed hard enough that the last five gram portion of my sample fell out of the bag with an audible thunk. Breaking that apart took a bit of effort and was only really possible after the rinse. Fortunately, though, it did open up after a steep or two and I could get on with the session without too much difficulty.
The liquor itself brews up an orange-ish brown that’s relatively light for a tea of this age and is indicative of the relatively dry, humid storage this tea’s seen in Malaysia. The taste reflects that as well, with a tart cherry note predominating, along with a cooling finish and some tingling activity on the tongue. It’s got a decently thick mouthfeel and provides a qi that gradually sneaks up on you.
It’s not without its flaws, though. The durability’s merely tolerable—the chopped leaves give up the ghost pretty quickly—and there’s a bit of an unpleasant bitterness not unlike burnt coffee that clashes with the rest of the flavors. It’s not a dealbreaker—you have to look for that flavor and it’s pretty brief—but it does mar the experience a bit. Previous sessions with earlier parts of the sample have been intensely smoky, though this quality’s been absent this time around. My guess is that there’s some variability in the cake.
This was the second sample of this tea that I’ve ordered, as I found myself unable to remember what I thought of it the first time. I’m not sure I’d purchase it in the current market; it’s a pretty decent tea, but I think EoT has some comparable offerings that are better. That said, it’s pretty enjoyable and it’s not the sort of thing I’d complain about owning.