So… the dried leaf is interesting looking, quite dark and speckled in color. The aroma is not very distinct, but different. Wet leaf is even more vibrantly hued and a strongly unusual aroma of some herb I can’t identify and a powdery smell. O…kay. Well, that’s certainly new, let’s try some!
Starts off predominately citrus with a strong creaminess that is both texture and taste. I’ve heard pineapple notes in reference to this tea, and I can see that, although without the sharp acidic tang flavor I characterize the fruit with. By the 3-4 steeps, the milk/cream flavor is getting stronger, almost cloying, and lingers heavily throughout. The tea seems to begin to commit to those predominant sour fruit and cream flavors more heavily, removing a lot of the muddled flavors I couldn’t identify at the very start that made me lean toward pineapple, save for an odd herbal aftertaste/body, maybe some mix of basil and something else. A mineral sweetness blooms behind the dairy, but I can’t get over that weird sour, curdled milk taste that I am NOT digging at all.
It’s not very bitter or astringent despite that sourness, so eventually, I cranked up the heat to boiling in a bit of a desperate attempt to somehow get rid of that flavor/flavor combination by later steeps (somewhere around 6-8) after consulting with other people who have had a better time of this than I was. Success! The seriously “off” milk taste and texture is now gone, at least, with that predominant sour citrus lemon taste remaining and sharpening, giving room to a nice throat feel and a more center stage for the sweet mineral flavors that swiftly follow. The cream is still detectable as it blends with the herb aftertastes, but is more of a lingering memory that it was there and much harder to discern, which is completely fine by me.
All in all, this tea was a bit of a ride for me, and leaves me a bit torn. It is complex, unique, and very different from anything else I’ve ever had with many interesting feels and taste transitions that wow-ed me, but at 205 F, the predominant taste to me was almost exactly like my childhood memories of pouring cream AND squeezed lemon into my complimentary watery hotel tea, resulting in a pretty disgusting cup of curdled milk-lemon-tea-ish something which I drank anyway because I was seven and it was my own creation, goshdangit.
Perhaps it was my water. Perhaps it was the brewing parameters. It’s generous, but I was definitely getting to the tail end of the steeps when I made the change to hotter water, so I feel a bit of regret I didn’t have that idea sooner. I think I’ll have to try this again with the hotter water from the get go before I really form an opinion one way or another on the taste, but so far, was not a fan.
It does have a nice qi though, in my opinion, although not the stoner kind that I’m used to in a lot of strong sheng, more chatty and aware and pleasantly… acutely observant feeling, which was nice, as I like to be able to walk around and do things after tea. I do suspect it to be quite a strong effect, though, as it shucked off the limoncello buzz I had going before starting this tea like peeling off a layer of onion before wrapping me in its own special warmth of emotion and clarity that I quite enjoyed, despite being unable to really fully process it.
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Cream, Herbs, Mineral, Sour, Sweet