The first infusion has an already delightful amber color and a sweet, pungent aroma. After a very smooth entry I am pleased to report comforting dried fruits, a tingle on the sides of the tongue and a slippery, warming mouth-feel. The aroma quickly translates to aftertaste and is long-lasting and floral in nature. I was semi-impressed with this tea when I purchased it in 2006; now I am looking forward to enjoying its surprises for many years to come. All this after the first steep. I didn’t expect much, so it has surprised me.
The second steep brings with it a more forceful, yet still very pleasant entry. After a slippery passage onto the palate it shakes the sides of my tongue with a mighty tingle and then rest in the back of the throat with a pungent sweetness. Much more full-bodied than the first steep with a continued long-lasting aftertaste.
Haha, lost track of time staring at the characters on the package and way over-steeped the third infusion. It is a lovely color and QUITE a mouth-full. Though very strong (it is only 5yo) much of the character can still be distinguished. The tingling on the tongue is a bit overwhelming at this point, but I still like it. The aftertaste just keeps going with this much time behind the steep. It seems to like to linger in the upper-back area of the mouth, just above the throat. The throaty sweetness is immense and enjoyable.
A little bitterness has reared its head in the fourth steep. I felt it creeping up earlier, but wasn’t sure if it was going to show. Luckily it has brought a company of flavor, fruits and camphor along for the ride, so ti is not unwelcome. The later steeps do have a lot to offer and might be overwhelming for the faint of heart. I am sure my 3rd steep didn’t help matters. It does reinforce my new-found belief that this tea will continue to develop complexity far down the road.
On the fifth steep the body is beginning to wane. The flavor is still at 95%, but small pieces of the complexity of just beginning to drop-off. The color is holding steady and it feels as if it will be fun to drink up until the 10th-12th steep. We shall see.
Steep 6 is slowly dwindling, yet still delicious and well flavored, though complexity is lacking.
Steeps 7-12 are worth-while for the subtle dwindling effect with retained flavor.