This black (or rather, red) tea is hearty and entrancing. The dry leaf smells of dark chocolate, toasted wood, and cooked sugar (like dark caramel or toffee). I found the wet leaf aroma depends mainly on the water temperature. Boiling water draws a pungent fragrance delightfully suggestive of soy sauce. Slightly cooler water (approx. 95°C) yields earthier, woodier notes.
I have prepared this tea in both Western and gongfu styles. Western-style preparation gives a mahogany brew with prominent notes of smoke and balsamic vinegar. With this tea, I obtain four solid infusions with Western brewing parameters (1 tsp leaf per 6 oz boiling water). The first two steeps are robust and mildly astringent, while the last two tend to be more subtle and earthy with mustier forest flavors.
Gongfu brewing produces fuller smoke and dried fruit notes in the first 2-3 infusions. Later steeps unfold into toasted nuts and woodchips with hints of dark chocolate. 75 mL of boiling water with 5g of leaf provided 9-11 substantial infusions with brewing times of 10, 15, 21, 28, 38, 53 seconds, etc.
This is one of my favorite teas to enjoy after an evening meal. Additionally, it blends very well with cream and would probably make an excellent bubble tea base.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Raisins, Smoke, Soy Sauce, Wood