I first tasted this tea on a trip to Portland, Or at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. While the tour of the garden was a bit of a bore, I can highly recommend the garden’s tea house. It’s an oasis for tea lovers! In said tea house, they offer up the best from The Tao of Tea. One of the tea’s I tried on that given day was Tippy South Cloud. I liked it then, and I still like it now.
Right of the bat, I can state this organic black yunnan is of very good quality. The dry leaf emits a dusty sweet potato-like scent, while the wet leaf exudes a very friendly earthiness. The liquor has a warmer sweetness to it’s smell as compared to the typical yunnan. Tasting this tea, it’s not overly strong, but is mildly dense. There is a pleasant sweetness throughout the sip. I can best describe the sweetness as caramel-like. It has absolutely none of the bitterness that can sometimes translate from a lesser quality yunnan. The relatively mild strength combined with the caramel-like sweetness balances out to a very satisfying overall sip.
While The Tao of Tea recommends on it’s tin to brew this at 185, I personally liked the results better brewing it at 200. It’s slightly stronger with the higher temperature, but it’s all a matter of taste.
If you happen to visit Portland, skip the line at Voodoo Doughnut, and instead go for a tea tasting at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. If you can’t make the trip, do the next best thing and order some of this tea.