This tea is a beautifully pleasant addition to my collection.
The compression in the cake isn’t very tight and allows easy prying. As of 2023, there is no wet-pile/fishy smell, only the slight earth-ocean aroma typical of ripe tea.
Having prepared three sessions of 2013 “Yi Dian Hong” now and used differing leaf-to-water ratios, the flexibility of this tea is undeniable.
First, I used 5 grams of leaves in a 100 mL gaiwan. (I start with a small tea ratio to enjoy the subtleties of the tea. A heavy proportion of tea drowns those delicate qualities.) The early infusions were gentle and sweet with prominent vanilla notes. The middle steeps complemented the underlying sweetness agreeably, growing full-bodied and cherry-like. The later brews faded slowly into subtle, fruity wood. Altogether, the tea yielded approximately ten infusions. I typically flash-infuse shou the first two to three times and add five seconds to each subsequent steep.
I employed 7.5 grams of tea for the next session in the same 100 mL gaiwan. The early steeps were still reminiscent of vanilla but thicker, heavier, and almost smoky. The middle steeps revealed dark chocolate and vague yet pleasant bitterness. The fruity-sweet character was more challenging to detect in this session. Late steeps traversed into soft vanilla land with less woodiness than the first session. I recall brewing in this session around thirteen times.
In my most recent session with this 2013 “Yi Dian Hong,” I opted for 4 grams of tea in my 60 mL gaiwan. I obtained eleven infusions from this session. Early on, the tea had the same vanilla character with a pecan note I hadn’t previously noticed. Midway through the session, there was still vanilla but with hints of chocolate. The nutty notes persisted quietly in the background and faded away in the late steeps, leaving fruitiness and still more vanilla. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. This tea can’t stop talking about it! Fortunately, I am a fan.
Now stop reading and buy the tea already.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Pecan, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Wet Earth