The dried leaves are a dull brown and broken in small pieces. I see some pieces of stem mixed in, though there are also some nicely curled full leaves. They have a rich, roasted scent, like the rice that sticks to the side of the pot and gets crunchy. Yum!
When steeped, the tea is a dark golden-orange. It smells of slightly charred toast and roasted nuts, and tastes like toasted rice, a full deep flavor that lingers. A very thick, full mouthfeel. There’s no astringency, even if you accidentally oversteep it. It’s a tea that holds up very well to multiple resteepings, and that gives a lot of flavor for few leaves.
I’m not actually a huge fan of Ti Kuan Yins, but this is an excellent example of the best the tea can be. It’s a wonderful wake-up tea, especially on cold, gray mornings.
(Note: purchased loose-leaf, Dec 2019. Not sure of country of origin.)
Flavors: Char, Roasted Barley, Toast, Toasted Rice