These dry leaves are delicate — thin and fluffy. Steaming in the gaiwan, they smell like cardboard boxes in a cinderblock basement. The rinse tasted like licking the walls, so I dumped the balance. Adding water immediately disintegrated any large pieces nearly to fannings.
First proper steep after a few minutes of rest gave up betel nut, cherry pit, basement camphor with a big hole in the middle. Wet leaves started opening up to something reminiscent of a spicy brown cocktail or brandied spice cake.
Is it possible this tea is dropping off at the second steep already? I adore huangpian, but it would certainly create the possibility. I let the third go for a minute or more, and it does indeed seem to be fading. Camphor numbness, alcohol muted by mineral water, with what feels like a metallic patina layered on top — a bagfull of rinsed beer cans.
And it appears: grandma Alice’s basement, flooded with twelve inches of water, hundreds of Old Milwaukee cans lazily floating around, the sad clank-dank-clank when my dad started wading through. Chucking the empties down the stairs and forgetting about them seemed like such a good idea before then, I reckon.
Flavors: Alcohol, Brandy, Camphor, Cardboard, Cinnamon, Metallic, Mineral, Spices, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood