The liquor is a beautiful deep gold and smells like burnt sugar. The leaves have that smell too, but it’s joined by some kind of fruity, intensely sweet smell I can’t name. It reminds me of fruit soda flavoured chapstick from the ‘90s, of all things… It’s intoxicatingly strong.
I first tried brewing this like gyokuro – 10g tea in my kyusu, 1:30 steep time, 160F water. The results were underwhelming; it tasted like it should have had umami notes brought out by the steeping, but didn’t, if that makes any sense. Even so, it had a rich, kind of malty flavour.
Brewed gongfu at 180 F, it still yielded a beautiful liquor. This style suits it much better, I think. The wet leaves smelled similar to how they did in the kyusu, but the higher temperature brought out a faint chocolatey note as well. The taste was malty, with mild bitterness. It had that umami note I knew should have been there! Very warming, and lighter in feel than black teas I’ve tried with a similar flavour profile.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Umami