This is the first sample I grabbed out of box provided by Fong Mong Tea. It is also my first black tea from Taiwan, at least that I am aware. First, about the packaging. The samples are packed in very heavy silver pouches. Once cut open the first thing I notice is the oxygen absorber in this pouch. That’s different. The tea type is listed on the label but there are no steeping instructions. I went online to locate this information.
The leaf is dark and thick. The smell is similar to a Yunnan Dian Hong but more wine like. Kind of like a chocolate wine would smell. Very nice. I brewed for 3 minutes with just below boiling water in my French Press. The resulting liquor is a beautiful clear dark caramel. Fong Mong calls the color carmine, which is a vivid red. Scent is the same as the dry leaf.
With the first sip the sensation was instantly caramel, then grapes, and then Yunnan black (I now understand Bonnie’s reaction). There is a healthy dose of malt in the smell and in the taste. While I don’t detect it in the scent, I noticed the cooling sensation of mint in mid sip and can taste it on my breath. This tea has a natural sweetness to it that tastes like honey on the lips. Strangely, considering the sweetness, it seems slightly drying like a red wine. There is not even a hint of bitterness in this cup. This is so good.
I find I have been programmed by years of English breakfast teas to expect a black tea to taste strong with a heavy bite that verges on and often surpasses bitterness. Not even close to what you’ll get from this tea. The China blacks and now this from Taiwan have shown me I have been missing an entire delicious side of black tea. This is excellent. I know reviews often read like propaganda written by an advertisement department, but this tea really is as amazingly good as it sounds. I am honored to have experienced it.