Alright, time for another check in on Bitterleaf Teas’ 2019 Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good! This is my ninth write-up on this tea, so if you’d like to read my past reviews you can do so here, otherwise lets just get to it!
Breaking the Cake
As expected from past sessions, the dry cake doesn’t smell like anything at all – you have to get your nose almost directly on the leaves to pick up any scent. After a short rinse, the wet leaves give off a strong strong plum and wine aroma with a hint of spice.
For this session I am using 3.8 grams of tea in my 55ml gaiwan, 90C water and infusion times starting at five seconds and increasing by five each additional steeping.
Infusion one starts out with a dry earth taste mixed with a general fruity sweetness. The fruitiness becomes more defined in the second steeping, with notes of both pear and apple, and a bit of spice – cinnamon and cardamom come to mind. Infusion three introduces a sharp bitterness that comes on fast and leaves just as quickly, turning to a heavy sweetness in your throat. The mouthfeel is creamy and thick, growing steadily through the first three steepings.
Bitterness decreases in infusion four, and a bit of astringency comes into play. Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good becomes earthy and herbaceous for infusions four and five, and the flavour starts to feel like it’s reaching its maximum level. Infusion six takes on a light tropical feeling, with notes of citrus, cherry and a syrupy sweetness.
Infusion seven has a nice but odd, out there flavour that reminded me carrot juice. I don’t really know where that came from, it was distinct but short lived, disappearing after the one infusion. The eighth and ninth steepings return to the flavour of the mid section – big, sweet, and herby. The tea nose dives at infusion ten and is done at the eleventh.
I always enjoy my sessions with this tea, but todays was probably my favourite so far. The tea felt more alive than it has in a while, and the flavour is becoming more clear and developed. If I wasn’t holding onto this cake for future check ins, I would probably break up a bunch of it and take it to work for daily drinking at this point.