5g, 200f brita filtered water, 130 mL gaiwan
I ordered this as a sample from Beantown. I guess you could say “malty and full-bodied with a rich peppery finish”, or you could just be more direct and say bitter and tastes like a tea bag earl grey (and for the price of looseleaf I would recommend going for bagged instead). A weird aftertaste that’s drying and almost sweet but not quite. Disappointed, considering I used lower temps than suggested and brewed for less time than suggested by Beantown. Didn’t finish the tea, and used the rest of my sample to de-odorize my mini-fridge from the time I accidentally left turkey in there.
One more thing to note, though I don’t know whether this is of legitimate concern or not (maybe someone more experienced with teas can chime in here):
I stumbled upon Hobbes’ (Half-Dipper) blog post on pesticides in tea a few months back (https://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2013/09/pesticide-its-whats-for-dinner.html). While I have seen plenty of saponin froth from brewing yanchas, like Hobbes notes, the froth doesn’t stick and the tea is clear usually after the first infusion or two. This tea was the first time I’ve seen froth that sticks to the edge of my gaiwan’s lid, even after several infusions (which I did not drink), and does stick to my strainer when poured through. Granted that Beantown makes no claims as to organic farm sourcing for the great majority of their offerings, this being one of them, this is still somewhat concerning. I’m not a health nut and drink mostly not organic-certified teas (though I do like supporting smaller farming co-ops and families sourcing organic teas), since it’s not like I’m consuming the leaves directly (ignoring matcha, for which I would pay a premium for JAS certified organic standards).
I don’t doubt that farmers do use plenty of pesticides on a good deal of exported tea, and I know some locals don’t even drink tea from certain growing regions since they can see firsthand how dirty some areas can be, but I suppose this is just a reflection me being uncomfortable with being confronted with the reality directly.
As a side note on Beantown, the customer service is good and plenty of people love their offerings but my experience with my order just served to remind me why I avoid places that focus on flavored teas and blends (of course, this is coming from my personal preferences). I was not particularly impressed with any of the teas I ordered from them, save for the Chai (though chai tea is straightforward enough to make at home).