I’ve tried this western and cold brewed and it is very good both ways, though western is disappointingly short-lived. I’m quite eager to try gongfu and see what else is revealed.

Western (4.2g/250ml, 85 C), 5 steeps in all:
The dry leaf is lovely & fun – soft, fluffy, loose blonde curls. The aroma on opening the bag is strong cocoa, followed by earthy malt. Wet leaves add a coffee roastiness with the sweet cocoa.
3 min – Very pretty dark red brew; aroma is earthy, sweet, and complex – I smell brown sugar, chocolate, some kind of baked good. Flavor is earthy sweetness, cocoa, a little coffee bitterness, light tannin finish. Something vaguely fruity I can’t put my finger on. Finish has bitter note like the burnt edges of a brownie. YES – after a few sips I settle on brownies – baked cocoa, burnt sugary edges, even the slight fruitiness you get with good dark chocolate.
4 min – the aroma is the same, but the flavor is already receding and isn’t quite living up to the smell; dryness a bit stronger in throat on finish.
5 min (reduced to 200ml, increased to 90 C) – no real change from second steep, despite adjustments.
7 min (increased to 95 C) – losing strength
10 min (increased to boiling) – ditto
(I’d rate this 75 when brewed western)

Cold brew (1g/100ml):
Aroma is so pleasing – floral, fruit, cane sugar, cocoa, faint roast. Taste is very good – mostly smooth but interesting; bright, a little fruity cherry-almond with hint of roasty/coffee bittersweet finish. (I’d rate this 80 as iced tea)

I got this at the same time as the Wu Liang Hong Mao Feng Black that I enjoyed so much, so I can’t help comparing them in my mind. They had some flavor notes in common, though this had the yummy roasted coffee & toasty cocoa notes. Interestingly, to me the flavors in the Mojiang were like a lot of delicious notes tasted simultaneously, but without supporting or bouncing off each other, if that makes sense. For me this is coming short in the comparison to the mao feng black because of that lack of flavor harmony, the quick fade-out, and the fact that this is twice the price. I’m not at all sorry I got it and will enjoy finishing the 25g, though! I’ll update when I try gongfu.

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Learning to brew gongfu style in my first gaiwan made me aware that not only is there an amazing array of teas out there to try, but each tea has the potential to have a great variety of flavors revealed by different preparations. Whenever possible, I like to brew each tea I try a few ways: gongfu, western, cold brewed/iced. I’ve enjoyed seeing how these treatments change any given tea.


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