When I think of nonpareil, I think of sno-caps….those little chocolate candies you get at the movies that have the white beady-balls on one side. With this tea, the similarity isn’t very far off with the chocolate note, but this simplistic comparison needs to end here, because this is one complex tea!
The dry leaf had a chocolate and woodsy note that was surprising when expecting a usual Dian Hong (or at least something like it!) After a 5 minutes steep western-style, the liquid was a beautiful golden amber color, not the mahogany I was expecting after smelling the leaf! This tea smells organic….and what I mean by organic is “of the earth”. The taste was also very organic with a dark woodsy note coming to the forefront, then warm hay, wheat….then cocoa, flowers, and a touch of parched earth. It certainly doesn’t taste like any other teas I’ve had before! There is also a slight astringency, that makes you want another sip…and another, and another…..
(5 minutes later)
Now that I’ve had some time over this cup to change my expectations (from Dian Hong to the unexpected), I can understand why this is a considered to be a coveted tea. Reminiscent of Bailin Gongfu, this is a deep, rich, multi-layered tea. The bottom and mid-notes of dark wood, earth, chocolate and hay marry well with the floral and wheat top notes. It almost seems like a “Man’s tea” …. A great deep flavored cuppa for sitting on a small fishing boat on an early chilly foggy morning, not being in any kind of hurry for the fish to bite. Nonpariel Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea is an unusual, extraordinary cup for when you’re craving the unusual, extraordinary places that a cup of tea can take us. Recommended!
Flavors: Earth, Flowers, Hay, Wheat, Wood