I’m trying out this tuo that matu sent me—“I didn’t like it, so now it’s your problem!” It’s a “2013 Menghai (region, not factory) raw I randomly bought on eBay.”
Dry leaf has no strong smell—I’m picking up a bit of menthol or mint lifesavers or something but that might be my nose playing tricks on me. Nice and easy to pick apart, not too dense. My crappy oyster knife did just fine.
Rinse: lid smell is pretty much neutral green tea. Soup is more amber than yellow. 1st steep (5s): lid smell is underspiced pot roast. Taste is astringent and chalky, I can barely taste through the bitterness. Dumped this steep after a few sips. 2nd steep (5s): lid smell is composting dried autumn leaves. Even though the water temp fell to ~203 for this steep it is far too astringent. The aftertaste isn’t very pleasant but it is going deep which is nice. I’m getting little teases of fruit but I can’t pin it down. Also dumped most of this steep. 3rd steep (7-8s, 195F): lid smell is a children’s playground wood chip bedding after rain and a couple kids peed their pants. I’m really smelling urine deep in the background. A little bit less bitter, not sure if it’s the water temp or it’s just chilling out. Tasting orange pith. Astringency is still there and not feeling great. 4th steep (12s, reboiled): Still getting a little bit of urine smell but mostly just wet earth/wood/grass. God, why am I still drinking this? My mouth is so dry. Bitterness is manageable at this point but it is still so astringent. Getting some cigarette ash notes.
I might do as Matu suggested and use this as pick practice.