I could swear I have reviewed this before… I’ve had this tea quite a while now, and though I had some technical difficulties when I was first learning to brew it, I feel I’ve definitely figured out my preferred method to get the most of the tea without making an overpowered cup. I have gone through quite a few shifts in the method I use to brew red/black teas in the gongfu style before I found one that really worked great for me.
Anyway, this is one of the best red teas I’ve had. There’s an interesting light floral quality to the scent resting atop some darker notes of earth, baked bread, cocoa, forest floor, and yam. The darker, mustier qualities are well balanced by a lightness that comes through in the flavor as yam and honey. The tea is tangy with a hint of bitterness on the back-end like dark chocolate or coffee, but to be fair I brew this a bit on the full-bodied side, while I’ve noticed most practitioners of Gongfu Cha I’ve met will brew red teas more on the light side, making a honey-colored liquor rather than a red one. That tends to yield more of the subtle notes present in a red tea. I prefer a bit more strength since repeated infusions will eventually yield a lighter liquor anyway. Not that this tastes exactly the same as if you had brewed it light to begin with, but it’s similar.
On a final note, I absolutely love the tin design and its designation as a “Year of the Horse” tea. I know A&D have done some teas like this before and I really am eager to see what comes out next year for the Year of the Goat. My only complaint is that the tin is basically a small paint can, so you will need something handy to pry the lid off if you purchase a tea tin from these guys. I keep a quarter resting atop the lid as it works well to do the trick and doesn’t take up any extra space while the tin is in the cupboard.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Honey, Yams