This was the last of the Japanese black teas that I finished in September. Of the three, I found it to be the most challenging and least consistently likable overall. That being said, it was still not a bad tea. I am fairly certain that the way I chose to brew it brought out more bitterness and astringency than would have been present had I opted to dry a different approach.
I brewed this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of hay, malt, and autumn leaves. After infusion, I noted new aromas of cinnamon, cream, butter, baked bread, pine, cherry, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, grass, malt, cream, butter, baked bread, autumn leaves, orange zest, lemon rind, vegetable broth-like umami, apricot, earth, cinnamon, Asian pear, red apple, plum, pine, kumquat, roasted walnut, oak, and cherry that were balanced by hints of bitter hickory, blackberry, and grapefruit pith before a bitter, astringent, tannic, and earthy fade.
As stated earlier, this was the most challenging and least approachable of the three Japanese black teas I polished off last month. I should have followed the brewing guidelines recommended by What-Cha, but I tend to brew my black teas strong in order to bring out the most in terms of aroma and flavor. I had also had success with longer infusion times for Japanese black teas in the past, so I did not see a reason to alter my usual approach with this tea. Honestly, I was just being lazy and trying to finish it off as quickly as possible. It deserved more attention, consideration, and respect than I showed it. Despite the distracting bitterness and astringency (again, very likely the result of me insisting on sticking with a 5 minute infusion time), this tea had some very nice aroma and flavor components. I would be interested in seeing what someone with a lighter touch would be able to get out of it.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Blackberry, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Grapefruit, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Malt, Nutty, Oak, Orange Zest, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Umami, Walnut