|"I actually had to re-examine the leaves I steeped to make sure I hadn't steeped a raw pu-erh by mistake."|
Said leaves were unlike the Hawaii-Grown Black I had from Samovar. They were twistier, less tippy, more thinly-rolled; they had a lot in common with A Georgian-grown black tea I tried. And the aroma really differed. Instead of just a general presence of chocolate, the ones for this batch of Makai reeked of mocha and molasses. I could've easily left my nose in the bag all day; it was that much of a treat.
Brewing instructions on the bag recommended 3g of leaves (roughly 1 tsp.) steeped in 1 cup (8oz.-ish?) of 208F water and a steep of up-to-four minutes. I had no qualm with the time and temp but went with about a tablespoon of leaves and a 12oz. cup. It was what I had access to at the time of brewing. I also went for the full four-minute infusion. If this was anything like the Samovar Hawaiian, it needed it.
The liquor brewed a mid-to-dark amber with a dry, root-like aroma. Surprisingly, it didn't remind me of black tea at all. I likened it, rather, to a Western-style-brewed sheng pu-erh. (I should know, I've been drinking a LOT of those lately.) The flavor profile also supported this - in sharp contrast to the burly scent of the dry batch - with a gentle (if woody) forefront that transitioned to a creamy top note. As for aftertaste, it leveled off with a bit of a wine-like lean.
I actually had to re-examine the leaves I steeped to make sure I hadn't steeped a raw pu-erh by mistake. It was a much gentler black tea than I expected, and even more so than the other Hawaiian-grown I tried a year or so back. Given my prediliction toward lighter black teas, I'd say that's more than a pass.
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