Another month in the bag means it’s time to check in on Bitterleaf Teas‘ Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good! If you’re reading this for the first time, I am doing monthly tastings of this tea and posting updated reviews. If you want to read my past notes, you can find them all here. Seeing as we’ve already been through this a few times, lets dive in!
I am using the same brewing parameters as I have for the previous sessions – 3.8 grams of leaf in my 55ml gaiwan, 90C water and one quick rinse followed by a five second infusion with an additional five seconds added for each following steeping.
Infusion one starts out sweet, woody, with a thick marshmallow-y mouthfeel. The aftertaste is long in the back of your throat, but nothing is left behind in the mouth – no oily coating or anything outside of the sweet taste. The second infusion adds in a clear muscatel note and a bit of longjing-esque nuttiness. Through infusions two and three a bitterness quickly grows. While it’s what I would personally call the “good sort of bitterness”, it does overpower all other notes during the third steeping.
Bitterness grows again during the fourth infusion and is joined by an intense astringency. Both the bitterness and astringency suddenly disappear at the fifth. The grape note has left now as well and is replaced by a juicy black cherry taste. An oak-like finish is added into the mix for the sixth infusion and the mouthfeel reaches an extraordinary level of thickness.
Pretty Good plateaued for the seventh and eighth infusions then declined until the eleventh. During these final few steepings the tea had a sugary sweetness and just the one main note – black cherry.
Reading back through past notes the bitterness and astringency is a common thread but one that I feel takes me by surprise each session. I’m always left with an afterglow of how much I enjoyed the tea and it makes me gloss over the harsher bits when I think back on it. I think that’s a pretty, pretty, pretty good indication of how much I’ve been enjoying this tea!