This red tea says it is from old tea trees. I haven’t looked into how old yet, as I prepare to taste the tea with a neutral understanding of it, but already, “old” is an impression I’m getting from the dry aroma of the leaves in a warm gaiwan. It has some of the musty and leathery notes of aged or shu Puer. There’s a bit of cocoa and wood coming through too. It reminds me of the profile I have experienced in a lot of purple leaf teas. The leaves are very big, long, twisty. I filled my gaiwan pretty generously with them since they aren’t too dense. After an infusion, the wet leaves give off a damp loamy scent with some muscatel grape. What I taste from the first infusion was really surprising, initially very woody, then malty, then finishing somewhat bitter. This tea has some similarities in flavor with Shou. There is a vaguely raisin-like flavor in the mix, and mushroom. The lingering taste is not only bitter it is really savory/umami faintly echoing gyokuro.
My first infusion was nearly red and my second is more orange, as I brewed it a little more lightly. This time I’m getting a bit more of the muscatel flavor, still some mushrooms and wood underneath, a bit of earth. The aroma has notes of spices.
The third infusion is much more malty with spice notes in the flavor and a really woody finish. This is quite a unique tea. I get a grounding feeling from the very idea of it being from old trees, and from the very down-to-earth flavor profile, yet it is giving me a decent jolt of caffeine so i feel a bit uplifted. I feel like I’m being pulled in two directions at once. You can call this tea-drinking lion Stretch Pawstrong (drum, hi-hat, and dad-joke buzzer).
Fourth infusion is a little bit sweet and more grape, though still very prominent wood and earth notes. The early infusions had some pretty considerable bitterness in the finish, but that is a lot milder in the later ones.
This is a unique tea among red teas I’ve tried. I’m not really sure if it’s my thing, but I think it is refreshingly different.
Flavors: Bitter, Grapes, Loam, Mushrooms, Umami, Wood