I have had this sample sitting around for quite some time. In my effort to keep clearing out samples, I gave it a try today. The leaf had a sweet, mushroomy aroma to it. I have had some teas which use “mushroom” as a flavor description that are just a bit nasty, so I was slightly dubious going in.
Thankfully, my concerns were unfounded! This tea starts off slightly vegetal for the first couple steeps before transitioning to a mushroomy sweetness which I found downright pleasant. Sometimes that flavor manifests itself with a sour timbre, which as a flavor really puts me off. This one was nice and sweet. I didn’t pick up on any mint as the description or other reviews have noted. Despite the main sweet note, this tea had a strong underlying bitterness for the first half of the session. For much of the session, that bitterness was accompanied by a bit of a fruity flavor. I would definitely not call it apricot – it wasn’t even sweet. An interesting and stimulating fruitiness – kind of like just the rind of some stonefruit maybe. Much like other teas made from high quality leaf, the session finished with around a half dozen or more steeps which were incredibly soft and sweet, free of any astringency or bitterness which characterized the earlier part of the session. These steeps not as interesting, but they are a great way to end a session.
Aside from a pleasant flavor, this tea was no slacker in the texture and qi departments. I found the texture pleasantly thick – more brothy than creamy or oily, though the aforementioned late steeps were slightly creamy in nature. I very much agree with the description on Yunnan Sourcing’s site which characterized the qi as “strong but not overwhelming.” This tea had a pretty intense mellowing effect on me, at least in the first half of the session. The first few steeps first made my mouth feel tingly, before it got slightly numb. I felt almost like I was at the dentist with my mouth all numbed up. It was an interesting sensation.
This tea was a really good random sample selection – good job, me of a few months ago! When/if the budget allows, this is a tea I would certainly consider picking up a cake of. At $60/400g, it is a sort of mid-level price. It’s not as easy to pick up as, say a $25 cake, but it’s a very good value. I really would say this one punches above its weight.
Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Fruity, Mushrooms, Sweet