Here is another review that is going to be a struggle to write. Not only are the notes from my review session a total mess, but I also recall this tea being a pain to brew and very challenging to drink. Even when I felt like I was starting to get a feel for it, the tea was fighting me. Belligerent beverages are not fun.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of nectarine, peach, plum, cream, custard, vanilla, and orchid. After the rinse, aromas or butter, orange blossom, roasted almond, grass, and sugarcane made themselves known. The first infusion added aromas of cherry and pomegranate as well as much subtler honey and jasmine presences. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of grass, orchid, sugarcane, honey, roasted almond, butter, peach, and nectarine that were balanced by subtler notes of tart cherry, baked bread, earth, plum, orange blossom, pomegranate, and roasted peanut. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of lychee, white grape, baked bread, pineapple, roasted peanut, violet, coriander, and green bell pepper in addition to a stronger honey aroma and a subtle woody fragrance. Stronger and more immediately uncovered notes of tart cherry, plum, and pomegranate appeared in the mouth along with mineral, green apple, coriander, lychee, white grape, lemon zest, pineapple, violet, orange zest, sour apricot, green wood, grapefruit pith, and green bell pepper. Hints of spinach, jasmine, and pear were present as well. As my review session progressed, the liquor grew increasingly astringent and bitter. As the tea gradually faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, grapefruit pith, roasted almond, green apple, sour apricot, butter, lemon zest, orange zest, sugarcane, and green wood that were chased by lingering pineapple, pear, sour cherry, green bell pepper, coriander, baked bread, orchid, violet, plum, spinach, and white grape hints before a bracing bitterness and mouth puckering astringency took hold and washed all of the remaining flavor away.
This tea was a mixed bag. It displayed a wonderful mix of complementary aroma and flavor components and retained a good deal of character throughout a gongfu session. The tea liquor also displayed nice body and texture in the mouth. Unfortunately, the tea also frequently came off as hyperactive, temperamental, and unfocused before becoming just totally unhinged due to the ever increasing bitterness and astringency. By the time I wrapped my session up, it had become a chore to drink. Something was way off here, but I could tell that this tea was, at its core, a very strong offering that just could not hold it together. Hopefully future offerings of this type will show improvement.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Butter, Cherry, Coriander, Earth, Fruity, Grapefruit, Grass, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Green Wood, Honey, Jasmine, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pineapple, Plum, Spinach, Sugarcane, Violet, White Grapes