In the morning, I want an in-your-face, take-no-prisoners sort of black tea. I want it to rip the everlasting sleepiness out of me. I want something that barks. A loud, vicious bark. Caffeine is not the sole driver of this. Flavors, feelings, textures all play their part. A lively, energetic harmony. Enter stage: Rishi’s Golden Yunnan.
The dry leaf is dusty and earthy with some sweet notes. The wet leaf has a strong-muscular earthy tone. The liquor is less fragrant than the dry and wet to my nose. Sipping this tea is experiencing a certain polarity; a bold crispness and a sweet smoothness live in friendly coexistence. The bold elements play in the front of the mouth. After sipping, there are crisp peppery notes that dance on the tip of my tongue and the back of my lips. Awakening. Spirited. Sharp. The back of the mouth is a different story and experiences a nice smooth sweet flavor. A mild caramel note. The aftertaste in the back of the mouth is one of relaxation with little to no astringency. Softening. Balancing. Overall, it’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde, but it works.
This is one of my go-to morning black teas. It’s strong and biting enough to wake me up, but with enough smooth and sweet notes to not be overly bitter or jarring. This tea is the pit bull that exhibits an angry face and barks like mad. But once you get to know this scary canine, the mutt is really quite a softy. Don’t be shy, rub the belly of this pup.