Okay, here is my final review of the day. This was one of my summer sipdowns, likely coming from either early or mid-August. Though the 2018 Feng Qing black teas have proven to be more variable in terms of quality and appeal than I would typically expect, this was an excellent offering overall.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of malt, baked bread, marshmallow, hay, sugarcane, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected aromas of honey, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and eucalyptus. The first infusion introduced aromas of clove and black pepper in addition to a subtle chocolate scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cooked green beans, sweet potato, marshmallow, grass, hay, caramel, roasted peanut, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of baked bread, honey, chocolate, black pepper, and eucalyptus. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of green bell pepper, camphor, roasted pecan, earth, and roasted walnut. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of baked bread, black pepper, eucalyptus, and chocolate emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, molasses, earth, roasted almond, green bell pepper, orange zest, celery, camphor, roasted pecan, and roasted walnut. I also picked up on hints of clove, cinnamon, plum, caramelized banana, and red pear. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, earth, malt, cooked green bean, baked bread, sweet potato, and marshmallow notes that were underscored by lingering hints of hay, chocolate, orange zest, roasted pecan, roasted almond, camphor, eucalyptus, plum, and sugarcane.
This was a very impressive black tea with the expected herbal, vegetal, and spicy impressions so typical of the Feng Qing style. Aside from the relatively minor quibbles that this tea faded a little faster than I would have liked and there were a few instances in which the herb and spice notes were a little overwhelming, there was not much to fault with it. Fans of Feng Qing black teas would likely be highly satisfied with this offering.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Camphor, Caramel, Celery, Chocolate, Clove, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pecan, Plums, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut