Received this cake in the mail yesterday so I’m spending some time with it this morning. The leaves separate from the cake fairly easy so that is nice.
10 second rinse.
First infusion, 30 seconds. The tea is already a deep cherry mahogany color. The flavor had the familiar ripe puerh notes but there was a hint of bitterness for me. That was a little surprising since I don’t remember reading anything about bitterness in most people’s reviews. Onward!
Second infusion, 15 seconds. The bitterness fades a bit but is still there in the middle and back of the tongue. I can however see what people are meaning when they say a smooth airy quality. This is a very light feeling tea that glides over the mouth and down the throat.
Third infusion, 30 seconds. Okay. There is the sweet spot. Warm, creamy, slight chocolate notes. Again, just reeaallly easy drinking. Found myself swallowing/gulping rather than sipping on this steep. Oops heh. The color of the liquid appears as a hazelnut brown.
Fourth infusion, 45 seconds. The color has lightened ever so slightly here. Still in the same color zone but just… lighter. This steep is much like the last one. Smooth and creamy. Picking up scents and flavors of cocoa.
Random thought break. I’ve taken to listening to “nature sounds” on Pandora or Spotify when I am able to brew gong fu while I am alone. Things like, “Rocky Seacoast” and “Babbling Brook in a Sunny Field at Noon.” Anyone else do this? I find it sets such a nice mood, relaxes me, and fully immerses me in the oneness of the tea drinking experience. Could be I’m just a super nerd though… Nah… heh.
Fifth steep, 2 min. While following along on the website for the steeping suggestions with this tea, my mind went, “45 seconds to 2 minutes? Whoa, really?” But my silly mind apparently doesn’t know what my heart knows by now. Trust Brenden with your tea experience. So I did. And, of course, this 2 minute steep is actually one of my favorites so far. Yes, it is getting a bit lighter but it is allowing other flavors to develop on the tongue. Or maybe the same flavors are there but because it is lighter they are playing a different song in my mouth.
Hey speaking of playing a different song, I’m now listening to what is titled, “Torrential Thunderstorm,” but the thunderstorm in question sounds off in the distance, in the background, and at the forefront is the sound of pouring water. Like, a storm drain emptying continuously into a shallow pool of water. It should be titled, “Water pours steadily, as if poured from a vessel, into other water while there are some faint sounds of thunder in the background.” Probably not as catchy as “Torrential Thunderstorm” though.
Steep 6, 5 minutes. Also, probably my last steep on this one before I have to go and pick up my son from preschool. Color on this one looks to be a deep orange-brown. And yup, flavor is getting a bit thin, watery. I see now what people mean when they say this is a bit of a light steeper. Not in a bad way. Certainly the lightness contributes to its airy quality while drinking.
Overall, a nice first session with this. It didn’t blow me away as much as maybe I had expected based on some other reviews but I did find it enjoyable and something I would love to spend more time with to see what other discoveries I can make with it. But maybe next time, no more “Torrential Thunderstorms.”