Upon seeing the opportunity to get an early release black tea from a plantation that specializes in Oolong… I couldn’t resist the offer and spent perhaps a few dollars more than I ought to have in order to be a part of this.
The leaves are large, dark, and gorgeous to me. The scent of the dry leaf is full-bodied and sweet. But not sweet in a sugar or fruit sort of way to me. It’s sweet like a handful of grain.
I opted to brew this gong fu style first in a 100 mL gaiwan. Each infusion was around 1-2 minutes (depending on the infusion), so perhaps I will try this again gong fu style with shorter infusions.
The liquor is a deep amber with a surprisingly mellow aroma. As Dorothy noted, it definitely is malty with a touch of barley. Drinking the tea is smooth. There is no astringency or bitterness to my palate. At first, I couldn’t quite identify what I was tasting. It was robust but mellow. There was a heartiness without being too much.
After a while, I realized that tasting this tea reminds me of tasting craft beers. There are a lot of the same flavors working their way through the tea as I have experienced in beer. It’s almost like there’s a very light hoppy after-taste that I find especially pleasant.
I’m looking forward to trying this again with shorter infusions and again in a western style pot.