When TeaVivre offered their latest round of very generous samples, I asked for this one specifically. This is the lowest priced level of the 3 Dian Hong black teas they sell. Even at the low cost this is still a quality loose leaf tea with a fair amount of golden tips mixed in with darker leaf. The dry leaf is a bit malty and has some tobacco leaf scent. I used about 3g (a healthy spoon) and just below boiling water, steeping for 3 minutes in my French press. The liquor is a dark and clear caramel. The wet leaf scent reminds me of brownies. Like baked caramelized sugar and chocolate. (yeah, I know – Yum! Right?)
Comparing this to Golden Tips or Sun Moon Lake is unfair, but I can’t help it as I just tasted tested the latter. So let me get this out of my system – This does not have the wonderful sweet potato notes of the Golden Tips, and it does not have the amazing honey and mint of the Sun Moon Lake. So in this unfair comparison it starts off sounding a little bland. Yet it is $6.90/100g compared to $16.90 and $29.00 respectively. This is a really good tea on its own strengths. It is smooth and malty. I don’t know how this is processed and fired but I detect a light amount of smoke in the cup. That adds character and depth. The cooler the cup gets the more the flavor pops.
At the price point of this tea, having a nice Dian Hong for everyday would be enough. Yet, I haven’t even gotten to the reason I requested this sample. I had a hunch about this tea that I just had to try. I brewed the second cup and poured it over ice. As I suspected, this made a refreshing light glass of iced tea. Where as the mighty Golden Tips faltered over ice, this frugal version took it in stride. No sweetener or lemon required. There was one problem with it – my glass emptied way too fast :)
One last thing, I steeped this 3 times and it was still going strong. Let’s see Twinings do that.
My rating is higher than the others based on the iced tea option.