I got a small free sample of this when I ordered the Golden Fleece and finally got around to brewing it yesterday with my husband’s best friend who has been in town since Wednesday. It is a solid, dark, chocolaty tea at one moment refined and the next robust. It is so different from the other Yunnan’s I’ve had while it is a chocolaty tea like the Laoshan and Bailin Gongfu, it feels so solid after just 10 secs of steeping (where as the others have a thinner, mineral sweetness, that I love mind you, this is just new and enjoyable). The first two steeps were wonderful,Pierre used the word “meaty” the third was a tad astringent and then in took an interesting turn for the fourth and fifth, so much so that Pierre thought it was a different tea (we took a break after three and he went downstairs). He said it tasted more “herbal” though I would say savory, it had a lighter buttery quality. This and the Wild Picked Jin Jun Mei are actually two of my favorites and ones I would like to order. Though I haven’t tried the Golden Fleece yet, tomorrow perhaps, I would highly recommend folks order Verdant’s Black Tea Sampler, they are amazing teas!
Zhu Rong Yunnan Black
The aroma of this intensely rich Yunnan black is immediately reminiscent of one of our favorite chocolate’s of all time: the Rogue Chocolatier Hispaniola bar, made with a tangy and nuanced cacao from the Dominican Republic. Imagine a fine dark chocolate melted down and infused with hibiscus. That is the aroma of this tea. It is so rich and fruity it even reminds us of a fine, light roasted coffee.
The flavor is so full bodied it evokes the wafting smoke from the smoldering cedar wood embers of a long-extinguished fire. This mouthfeel is followed up by an engaging tart and warming quality. Clove and orange peel assert themselves with the woody cedar flavor. Later steepings yield to an unexpected savory flavor like thick-cut kettle chips and cayenne pepper. The potato flavor grows into a burdock root aftertaste.
Note: This tea is named after Lady Zhu Rong, the dagger wielding warrior queen of Yunnan who was descended from the god of Fire. The elegance and power of this tea compelled us to evoke her Kingdom of Dian, the “barbarian” south before it was conquered by China and called Yunnan.