Looking at the number of tasting notes for this tea, it is doubtful that I need to add another one, but I’m going to go ahead and do so. This is one of those teas that you just have to talk about, one of those teas on which you absolutely have to share your thoughts. Readers will perhaps examine the above sentences and conclude that I really love this tea. If they were to come to that conclusion, they would be 100% correct.
I prepared this tea using the gongfu method outlined on the Verdant Tea website. I only made two small modifications. Rather than using a 5 ounce gaiwan, I resorted to my trusty 4 ounce gaiwan that I have been favoring for many of my review sessions lately. I wanted to both really focus the flavor and brew this tea strong. The first infusion was 10 seconds in 205 F water. This infusion was followed by eight additional infusions at 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 seconds. This was the only other modification that I made, as Verdant suggests an initial steep of 2-3 seconds followed by 3 seconds on each additional infusion. In truth, I prepared this more like an oolong because I wanted a strong first impression followed by a series of subtle contrasts.
The initial infusions were amazingly aromatic with cocoa, toasted grain, vanilla, raisin, and fig aromas jumping out of the glass. In the mouth, there was an incredible mixture of malt, vanilla bean, raisin, fig, prune, cocoa, dried black cherry, sweet potato, and toasted grain flavors with a long, smooth chocolaty fade that highlighted a hint of creaminess. Later infusions, saw the chocolate recede somewhat and grain and fruit flavors come forward. On these infusions, I noted a nice mix of dried fruit underscored by hints of toasted grain and vanilla on the finish.
As I said, I really love this tea. It is far from the most complex black tea I have had, but the aromas and flavors this tea presents are strong and work very well together. I would like to see a little more depth in the layering of flavors, but as is, this tea is very, very good. There is a reason so many people like this tea. Go out and try it if you have yet to do so.
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Creamy, Fig, Fruity, Grain, Malt, Raisins, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla