Pre-Chingming Top Pai Mu Tan by Upton Tea Imports is a special tea, Pre-Chingming means it was harvested before the festival of Chingming (usually celebrated the first week of April) one of a few holidays in the Chinese calender for honoring one's ancestors. It is famous in tea culture for producing more subtle aromas and flavors than teas picked later in the year. I should mention that the designation of Pre-Chingming was originally applied to green teas, specifically Lung Ching and Bi Luo Chun. This tea has a mild and vaguely spicy aroma, like pepper and sage. There is also the aroma of dried oak leaves and a hint of paper. The aroma is very mild and fresh.
Once the leaves have been steeped they become sweet and fresh, like new growth and not at all like dried leaves. There is still a hint of pepper, but now it is more like the aroma of a peppery lettuce instead of the spice. The liquid sans leaves however has very little aroma, there is a faint sweetness and that is all.
The taste surprised me a bit, it is fruity, starting off tart and fading to honeydew melon. I was not necessarily happy about the melon notes, I do not like melon at all. The midtaste is sweet vegetal like a delicate note of artichoke and fresh leaves, the tea finished with a peppery note and leaves a gentle, sweet, aftertaste. This tea is very subtle and mild, I probably would have loved it if not for the melon taste. This is another of those teas that I can say 'it's not you it's me' to it and recommend it but with the caveat that I was not a fan.