With my recent taking to Fujian black teas, I couldn’t wait to try this tea, and thankfully SimplyJenW fulfilled that desire by immediately sending me a sample of it! I’m brewing it western style because that’s how I’ve done my other gong fu blacks so far, with parameters that approximate the parameters I’ve used previously, except this one I brewed a little hotter because that’s more like what TeaSpring calls for.
From the dry leaf I’m definitely getting molasses and grainy notes, that is, it smells pleasantly like horse grain. I’ve smelled that before from the base of the Tea Spot’s Organic Chocolate “O”, and though I know it doesn’t sound like a compliment, it totally is because I love that smell. I always wanted to eat the horse grain as a kid because it smelled tasty, but of course uncooked grains are not that palatable even when covered in molasses. Anyway, back to the tea. Steeped, I’m smelling more of those cocoa, malty, grainy notes in the cup.
Nice grainy, malty, slightly molasses-y, slightly cocoa-y notes in the flavor of this one. It’s also a little less sweet-seeming and a little bolder and a little less smooth than the other gong fu blacks I’ve tried. I’m glad Jen also sent a sample of Keemun Mao Feng, since a few people have mentioned that this tea reminds me of a Keemun without smokiness. I’ve never tried an unflavored Keemun so that will be good to compare. I think Jen nailed it when she said this one was less honeyed and caramelly than the Tan Yang I brought back from China (and I also think Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu), but those are some of my favorite parts of the cup. I do have plenty of leaf for this one to try many times and compare side-by-side to some of my other faves, not to mention the others that Jen put in my box (thank you!).
I am definitely enjoying this one very much, but it isn’t an easily-acquired replacement for my Tan Yang I brought back from China (of course I knew that going in from Jen’s reviews). I will have to try the higher-grade Tan Yang Jing Zhi from TeaSpring as well at some point.