I drank through almost my entire 50g sample before I started to ‘get’ this tea. Maybe it just needed an extended period to acclimatize though. At this point in time, the tea no longer feels like it absolutely needs more aging before one could enjoy it, even though it could definitely benefit from further fermentation. It doesn’t seem to possess a hard-hitting qi, but I actually found it to be pretty defocusing at first and body-warming overall.
The first few times I tried this tea, I found it to have a boring, bitter taste profile with a relatively light body. The latter still holds, but it’s not as problematic given that the mouthfeel is not as one-dimensional as I thought. The liquor is very soft and slick, with a bubbly texture to it that makes it an engaging drink despite the light body.
Another point of note is that, yes, the profile is not very complex, but it’s actually quite pleasant. Vegetal and fruity notes dominate early on, while woody ones take the center of the stage in the second half. Clearly, the bitterness forms the foundation though, and medicinal notes are just about peeking through. Notable flavours include dried dates and orange. The finish is somewhat biting, and the aftertaste throat-cooling with a decent huigan as well.
Finally, let me speak to the aromas a little. In the gaiwan I can detect mushrooms, forest, cream and grilled red peppers. The empty cup scent is pretty interesting too with notes of spiced rum and raisins.
In conclusion, I must adjust my initial impression of the tea. Given the friendly price, this is actually a pretty good semi-aged offering from YQH, especially if it can continue to improve in the years to come.
Flavors: Bell Pepper, Biting, Bitter, Cream, Dates, Dried Fruit, Forest Floor, Grilled Food, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Orange, Raisins, Rum, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood