The tea has a unique dry stalk aroma that is very woody. This is the first time I am trying it out so the brewing parameters are very much an experiment. I used 5g of stalks in a glazed clay gaiwan.
steep #1: 80°C, 1 min, 80ml
The smell of wet twigs is also quite robust, main notes being decaying leaves, wet earth, forest, peach and brown sugar. A very unusual and interesting combination. The liquor has medium body and is less robust. There is no bitterness or astringency. It is actually decently fruity and sweet, with roasted butter flavour emerging in the aftertaste. Empty cup smells of compost and beeswax.
steep #2: 80°C, 30 s, 80ml
Similar, but slightly weaker smell. The taste is now more woody and sour in the finish and the texture is a bit lighter. The aftertaste has some spiciness to it too, which is nice since there is no astringency as I mentioned.
steep #3: 80°C, 1 min, 80ml
Ever more fruity smelling, I can now notice the lychee mentioned in the description. Also, alcohol tones appear, especially once the twigs have cooled down. Mouthfeel is again slightly on the thin side, but has a nice mouth-watering effect and cooling aftertaste. Also, for the first time a little drying in the finish. Not much sourness in this infusion, there is more of subtly bitter and vegetal notes.
steep #4: 90°C, 90 s, 80ml
Colour is darker now, more on the orange side rahter than yellow. However, it seems that the taste profile is flatter and again more sour, even though still really pleasant to drink. The aftertaste has some really nice fluctuating roastiness and woody aspects too.
steep #5: 90°C, 150 s, 80ml
Finally, some hints of astringency appear. Taste is more fruity, sweet (honey) with drying, citrusy finish and cooling, alcohol-like afteraste.
steep #6: 100°C, 3 min, 80ml
The darkest, almost brown, infusion yet. The taste is somewhat vegetal and reminiscent of later infusions of a Taiwanese amber GABA oolong. I think it’s time for the last steep over the flame.
steep #7: simmering, 10 min, 150ml
Smells of honey, caramel, rosehip and brioche. Colour is somewhere between dark red and brown. Taste is not extraordinary to be honest, but better than infusion 6. It’s definitely more bitter and quite sweet. It also has a similar quality to it as bug-bitten teas. A nice way to finish the session in any case.
Due to the high price, I don’t think I will be buying this tea again too soon, but I would recommend experienced drinkers in particular to try it out at least for the novelty of experience. It definitely isn’t bland, which is what I would normally expect from such a tea. Just a bit more on the subtler side, but the complexity is there. In any case, I will try different brewing methods the next few sessions I have left with this and see if my opinion changes.
Flavors: Alcohol, Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Dark Wood, Fruity, Honey, Lychee, Peach, Roasted, Rosehips, Sawdust, Sour, Spicy, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wood