What a unique tea this! At first I was thinking that there’s something wrong with it. I also thought: I kinda like it, but I am not crazy about it. Well, by the fourth steep, I was crazy about it :D
Overall, this is a tea that reminds me much more of a light roasted (pour over) coffee than other teas. If you like those, you will love this tea. It is also very complex and changes over the course of a session, so I would recommend gong fu style brewing to get the most out of it. I gave it a good 15-20 sec rinse, which was a good choice.
The first sip is very acidic right off the bat to make sure you know this is not going to be your standard shou. It is very tangy with notes of citrus, dried lime, coffee and autumn leaf pile in the aftertaste.
Second steep has a mouth-watering, bubbly mouthfeel. The tea is a little less sour now (but still very much so), with woody and metallic notes emerging. The aftertaste is significantly sweeter this time.
Third infusion is nutty, dry and warming in the throat. It has a spicy note reminiscent of cloves. The aftertaste is an interesting mix of the aftertaste you’d expect to get from sour ale and a baltic porter.
Fourth infusion has a very bubbly texture. The decaying leaf flavour is more prominent now too, which makes it a bit like an aged shou mei. I can now also feel the caffeine rush and a body warming sensation. Smelling the wet leaves gives an interesting cinnamon bun aroma, not something I would expect either. The aftertaste is pungent and long, as the sourness peters out and gives way to sweet, spicy, and earthy notes.
Fifth one is probably the most balanced yet. As the sourness decreases, there are new flavours of wet rocks and tree roots emerging. The finish is still very drying though.
The next steep finally shows some sweetness earlier on, the sweet side reminds me of rock sugar. I also get flavours of hay, dark chocolate and apples.
Finally, I finish with seventh steep that’s already noticeably lighter in colour. It is somewhat herbaceous and has a distinctively aged taste.
I think everyone serious about tea should try it, if nothing else for the novelty at least. Oh, and it has some decent cha qi too, although a bit too rushy for my liking.
Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cloves, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Hay, Herbaceous, Metallic, Nutty, Sour, Sugar, Sweet, Tangy, Wet Rocks, Wood