This is my very first tasting note on Steepster, simply because it is only now that I feel equipped to write such a thing. Furthermore, this note won’t be about taste so much as brewing procedure. In the majority of the tasting notes I have read here at Steepster, there has always been at least one piece of brewing information missing, and it has usually been the amount of water the tea was brewed in. Also, the little data sheet Steepster includes at the bottom of each note does not allow space for the amount of water, nor the times for multiple infusions. I have discovered that it is a rare tea that does not respond well to multiple infusions. Heck, even Teavana’s cacao mint black (I suspect Ceylon) tea responds to at least two infusions.
So I will use this opportunity to provide a full summary of the steeping procedure I have found successful with Tealux’s Black Pearl Sumatra, along with a very rudimentary tasting note.
Water Temp.: 97º C (I’m a Canadian)
Amount of Leaf and Water: 2.8 g. per 4 oz.
Brewing Times: 1st infusion-1 min.; 2nd-1 min.; 3rd-1 min.; 4th-2 min.
I based this choice of amounts on what I have found successful with one of my Tie Guan Yins, because the dry Black Pearl Sumatra leaves looked and smelled enough like a rolled oolong for that to make sense to me. The result was very pleasing. I think the confusion about whether this should be called a black tea or an oolong results from the fact that its flavour really defies categorization. It is rather sweet-potato-and-bean-like in the sense of Verdant Tea’s ‘Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black’ (or even Golden Fleece to a lesser degree), while also whispering some very enjoyable, dulcet (floral?) undertones of a green oolong.
However, based on the brewing procedure that worked for me, I think Tealux’s categorization of this tea as an oolong is perhaps the most appropriate. Technically, I guess we would need to know how much the leaves were allowed to oxidize before we could identify the scientifically correct category.