A blend of three Chinese black teas: Keemun, Yunnan, and Panyang Congou. A great afternoon blend.
155 Tasting Notes
A slightly smokey and roasted tasting Chinese black.
Starting the day with this smooth and delicious Chinese black tea. A perfect way to warm up and wake up.
We decided for the last tea of the day we might try something a bit uncharacteristic, and did 4 heaping teaspoons for a 24oz point, and brewed it for 2 1/2 minutes instead of 3. Sooooo tasty! The tea is creamier than I’ve ever had it before, and there’s not a hint of dryness or bitterness! The asparagus notes are more intense. Pretty much it’s just that much better!
Panyang Congou has lofty, nutty scents, with faint additions of honeyed sweetness. With a beautiful raw sienna color, the liquor is soft, with nonabrasive flavors of baked apples and spring hay.
From the Fujian province, Panyang Congou is a close relative of Panyang Golden Needle and Golden Monkey, but slightly older and made in a more traditional style, with the least amount of tips.
Congou is a corruption of the Chinese words Gong Fu, or Kung Fu, which mean “High Mastery”. A tea trade classification for Chinese black teas with this particular twisted shape, the word refers to the masterful skill required to produce the teas by hand. Today, the teas are made almost entirely by machine. The leaves are expertly rolled into a tight twist before slowly oxidizing to take on the fruity but unsweetened flavor of baked apples.
Wafts of dark chocolate, with a much more intense roasted aroma than other Keemuns. Hao Ya ‘A’ also has a much stronger body than most other Chinese black teas, with a bit of astringency. The aromas carry through to the cup with notes of dark chocolate.
Keemuns are some of China’s oldest and most renowned black teas. They come from the rolling hills surround the small town now written as Qimen. The tea fields lie between the Yellow Mountains and the Yangtze River. This particular Keemun is made in later April or early may, after the Mao Feng harvest, when the leaves are bigger and more flavorful. Whereas Mao Feng is harvest for only a week and a half, Hao Ya’s season goes on for as long as a month and a half.
Hao Ya teas are separated, primarily for the U.S. market. The best tips go to A, and the second best to B. They are processed similar to Mao Feng. Mao Feng makers accentuate the bud, drawing out the subtlety and sweetness of the tea, Hao Ya makers go for power.
The steep has floral aromas like a spice-scented rose; ginger and cooked fruits like canned fruit salad. Sipping the tea finds a gingery spiciness with baked fruit, like gingered baked apricots. It is a very rounded, mellow and smooth cup.
This gingery, floral tea is said to be an ancient tea from the Ming and Qing dynasties that was lost and rediscovered in the 1970s. It is likely a very difficult tea to make, as its fragile bud sets are much harder to preserve than the solid buds or leaves of other yellow teas.
The wet leaves have a potent gardenia and lilac scent with top notes of crystallized sugar and fresh citrus, akin to key lime pie topped with meringue. Ali San has a medium body and a creamy viscosity, giving a nice coating sensation and some butteriness along with lime citrus notes and a mild vegetal undertone.
High Mountain Oolongs first emerged in the early 1980s, after the lifting of the embargo against world trade with Communist China. During the embargo, Taiwanese tea makers made a fine living selling ersatz version of the Chinese green teas to Chinese expatriates in South Asia. With the collapse of the market for their inferior version of Chinese teas, in the early 1980s, a few intrepid tea makers from the nearby Dong Ding growing area experimented in the high mountains that form Taiwan’s spine. They found that the higher altitudes led to creamier and more floral teas.
It seems likely the cooler temperatures and reduced sunshine in the misty mountains stunt the leave’s growth, concentrating their flavors. The cloud cover may also increase certain amino acids that give the tea its heavier, creamier body.
After steeping, the leaves give off a tropical fruit aroma, like guava or passion fruit, along with a pronounced spring honey smell. In the cup, the tropical fruit notes are less assertive, as well as less sweet. Again though, with other teas from the region, we can appreciate the dry briskness, puckering our mouths back into a smile which as the Indians say, is how you can tell a good cup of tea!
This tea actually comes from Nepal, so while it is not technically a Darjeeling, it is made in the Darjeeling style, with a hard wither, thorough rolling, limited oxidation and a mild firing process. Darjeeling teas are made right on the border separating India from Nepal, so its only natural that tea cultivation and the processing style has migrated over the border.
This seems to be a staff favorite in the morning, but I can’t entirely blame them!
The wet leaves are sweet and toasty, almost like morning toast spread with a dark honey. Sipping the tea, we appreciate the signature brisk, mellow toasted flavor akin to a light molasses.
This Assam is a second flush, which is arguably the best time for Assams to be harvested. The Mangalam tea estate is named after Kumar Mangalam Birla, once the son of the estate’s owners and now one of its managers. The estate is owned by Jayshree Tea & Industries, a large company that incorporated in 1945. Jayshree is heralded in the Orthodox world for its special clones that produce a big golden leaf tip, which no one is able to replicate, making Jayshree Assams easily identifiable.
What a great way to end a busy Saturday! The masala spices pair perfectly with the earthy sweetness of Rooibos. Being an Herbal it won’t be keeping us up all night, but it certainly is keeping the customers warm!
Lung Ching is another of our flights this weekend and is an early spring tea and is the standard to which all other green teas are measured. It emotes aromas of steamed bok choy and toasted walnuts. It pours a very smooth cup with little dryness. The cup has a delicious meatiness of roasted eggplant, with similar steamed bok choy and toasted walnut flavors as in the aromas. A sweetness of spring clover sneaks through to the top!
One of our flights of tea this weekend, it wafts aromas of honey and sweet floral notes of violets, with a vegetal undertone of wet hay and steamed green beans. Unfortunately the taste isn’t as sweet, being overpowered by the vegetal beans.
Risheehat is a medium bodied tea; brisker than most Chinese teas, filling the mouth with sensation, but not offputtingly puckery like many other Darjeelings. It is a lively tea, with suggestions of bright fruit flavors like pineapple and grapefruit. In Japan, First Flush Darjeelings are offered to colleagues as tokens of respect, very cool!
A blend of cooked stone fruits such as baked apriots, and the dry but slight sugariness of semisweet chocolate. It has a mellow, nutty finish of raw pecans. For a tea developed less than two decades ago, it’s developed a very large following, with good reason!
Wenshan Baozhong is one of the most fragrant Taiwanese oolongs. It’s full of honeysuckle and gardenia notes, with a butter viscosity.
A full bodied tea complete with signature brisk mellow toasted flavors, much like a light molasses.
This is a wonderfully smooth blend of Assam, Nilgiri, and Darjeeling teas that makes a perfect morning tea.
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A nice basic Oolong. Nutty with subtle vegetal notes.
This is definitely an exquisite Assam. When brewed correctly it can emote notes of buttery caramel, malt and sweet fruity notes of papaya and mango, without being robust and overpoweringly roasty like other Assams.
UVA Highlands is a brisk Ceylon tea with hints of Wintergreen and background notes of Ceylon tea flavors
A classic Japanese vegetal green tea.
A nice hot cup of lightly smokey Hao Ya ‘B’ to keep us warm on this dreary and cold day.