432 Tasting Notes
I have four Rizhao blacks in my cupboard right now and each of them are quite different. One tastes almost exactly like hot chocolate, another of caramel, another of light smoke honey and cocoa and then there is this one. This one is the most robust of them so far and most similar to the Laoshan blacks I’ve tried, but it is unique in it’s own right. It also delivers a pretty potent dose of caffeine, which is currently buzzing through out my body.
It brewed to a red orange amber colour. The first steeps smelled of roasted grain, honey, cocoa, mash from making malt, plum, cinnamon and a lemon note.
At 70s it tasted of a lemon plum top note, opening to cocoa, honey,caramel and cinnamon flavours. As it cools malt becomes more apparent, and exhibited some tones you can get from a honeyed ale. It is smooth and slightly buttery with a reference to cream, yet has a brisk feeling from a good dose of caffeine. The aftertaste has good cocoa with light grain/ Ovaltine notes, and is slightly spicy on the and peppery on the tongue.
Subsequent steeps ( 2, 2.5, 3.5m) have exhibited similar tones along with the introduction of a light vanilla into the mix. As it cools the tea becomes very sweet with the honey notes this tea contains becoming very apparent. I think I’ll be nursing this tea for a few more steeps at least!
The flavouring in this tea is like a cross between Italian Torrone and Turkish Delight. I quite like it, but I find that if you want the flavouring to pop brew it for less than the recommended four or 5 minutes. I can definitely taste the marzipan which blends well with a slightly fruity, slightly bitter rose and Jasmine. For those who hate floral teas this is not overly floral, it’s more candy like. The almond flavour is part marzipan, part nougat and part cake ( if you’ve had a cake baked with almond flour). It is not overly sweet, which is nice as I prefer to be able to sweeten a tea to my own tastes. The Tea is quite pretty with a scattering of rose buds, jasmine pieces and sliced almonds. The base is a chinese black but it brews up to that thick sort of consistency that assams often have.
The tea brews up to a dark amber and smells of a rich white cake. The base tea underneath brews up to a thick, slightly tannic and malty fruity tea. It adds a slightly bready texture to the tea and would handle milk or cream well. I find that if allowed to brew too long the base overtakes the flavouring of the tea.
The tea re-steeps nicely. The more I sip this tea it reminds me of cake, which is nice and fitting since it’s my ‘jour de naissance’.
When I first opened this packet the scent of the dry leaves was very intense, with sharp, bright, notes that seemed almost harsh and pungent at first, but mellowed to notes of grape, lemon, spicy, earthy, biscuit notes with a hint of woody sandalwood.
The leaves are fairly large, and are mostly various shades of brown, with some sage to olive green silvery tips.
Because of the intensity of the dry leaf scent I used slightly less leaf than I normally do and instead used 1 tsp/225ml which I brewed at 3 minutes at 90*c.
The tea brewed to a copper amber colour. The scent of the brewed tea was awesome with hints of fruity white wine, lychee, pink grapefruit, spice( fall leaves mixed with carnation), with a hint of biscuit underneath.
The first flavour note was bright and fruity, followed by biscuit with a fall leaf note accompanied by a light astringency that opens to fruit notes of wine, grapefruit , a hint of melon, and a light syrupy note. I found this to be a relatively smooth and bright darjeeling.
The tea finishes with a bright clean feeling in the mouth that fades to a spicy note that lingers in the mouth. The fruit and spice dominate over the earthy tones.
The 2nd steep at 4 minutes produced a smooth, and a bit heavier and deeper flavoured liquor with spicy, leaf note, over more distinct, wine note with slight woody sandalwood. nutty note, followed by citrus notes and syrup.
A 3rd steep at 5min was slightly floral, with lychee, citrus, and syrup notes over faint sandalwood.
The spent leaves were entire and were mostly brown with some green ones.
Altogether this tea was very enjoyable and I could easily see myself keeping a little bit of it in my collection. Thanks again to Capital Tea Ltd. for this generous sample.
Of the two Rizhao blacks that I have at the moment this is one is probably the less complex but on the other hand it tastes strongly of hot chocolate and because of this I am pretty sure it is my favourite of the two at the moment.
This tea brews to a reddish brown and has flavour notes of hot chocolate over malt with honeyed grain, caramel and cinnamon, with faint roasted notes. It smells like hot chocolate with a touch of Ovaltine.
This time I brewed 1.5tsp/225ml for about 1 min at around 90*C.
I think it does a little better brewed for a little less time if you want the chocolate to dominate over the malt. However it was still good. Resteeps well for 4-6 steeps.
I bought this through Aliexpress.
I bought it at this store http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Black-tea-2013-tea-top-small-250g-bulk/1170792688.html
but I am pretty sure this is the same item
and this company is offering a chance to try a sample pack.
This tea is quite different than the Chinese blacks I’ve been drinking lately. For one thing the spent leaves are huge, with the one I measured being 5.5cm long or around 2.25 inches. Secondly it’s flavour profile reminds me a little bit of a cross between a Indian and a Taiwanese( I haven’t had many of these though) assam. It has the thick rich texture of an Indian assam, replete with malt and biscuit, combined with the bright fruit and spice notes, of mint, nutmeg and cinnamon I’ve had more in the Taiwanese versions. Really interesting and nice flavour notes which were not exactly what I was expecting as the dry leaf smells mostly of chocolate and cinnamon.
The leaves themselves look exactly like the picture, dark, thick, glossy and twisted. I used around 1.5 tsp for 225ml and brewed at around 95*C.
50s brewed to a rich reddish brown
scent: red fruit, malt, cinnamon, nutmeg note, hint of biscuit, honey,
flavour: fruit ( a cherry, currant like note), honey, malt, slight floral note, hint of chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg.
faintly astringent, rich makes a nice breakfast tea,
45s above notes with a slightly minty fruit note (reminds me of creeping snowberry (northern peat bog plant with white berries tasting of blueberry and mint)). It’s smoother with more cocoa and a stronger nutmeg note. Feels cooling.
60s spice, nutmeg, cinnamon fruit, cocoa, malt fruit and honey.
90s faint fruit malt, biscuit, hint of cocoa.
Next time I’d like to try a longer western style brew to see what notes come out.
This was a really interesting tea that I think would make a nice breakfast tea. Thanks again to Capital Tea for their generous opportunity to sample this tea. http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/product.php?productid=224&cat=6&page=1
This is a tea that I picked up a sample of at the Zen Garden Restaurant, It’s not currently available on the King’s Zen website.
This tea consists of dark green, grey curls with silver tips. The tea smells sweet and slightly spicy.
I found this tea to be very robust and flavourful. It is also quite resilient, so far it’s lasted seven steeps. I originally steeped it for 45s and I suspect that next time I could reduce the steeping time or the amount of leaf as the flavour was quite intense and the broth was a deep gold. The flavour is quite nice, with roasted chestnut, plum , honey, spicy sweet floral ( like dames rocket) and spinach notes. Plum honey and roasted nut notes remain in the aftertaste. Once the spinach notes calm down the tea becomes quite smooth and silky. Quite a nice tea with quite a bit of natural sweetness.
I have to preface this by saying this is the first Dancong I’ve ever had, but this tea is now on my adore list. I’m not sure if this is just me discovering I love Dancongs or if this tea is really spectacular in it’s genre, regardless I really like it.
It reminds me strongly of a scotch based liquor that my cousin brought back from Scotland. It has these lovely floral notes which I described to myself as lily of the valley touched with gardenia but that may be Magnolia in afterthought balanced by a beautiful apricot cream flavour and whiskey grain alcohol notes including that warm tingling notes that neat scotch always gives me.
Secondary flavours include sandalwood, toasted nut, cotton flower and incense smoke so far. This tea is still going strong after 11 steeps ( though it is more apricot cream right now.
The original leaves were quite dark and smelled slightly of peach, but now they are an olive green with a more floral scent. The first steep at 1 min smelled like cooked peach, woody tones(sandalwood, a hint of stewed rhubarb, honey, cereal, and cream notes. The tea was a pale sepia type tone. The flavour was quite intense at 1 minute. I’ll use a shorter steeping time next time.
Looking to further steeps of this tea tonight and can easily see myself restocking this one. Does anyone have any recommendations for other Dancongs?
This was my introduction to Laoshan black teas and I am afraid I was rather spoiled! Not only did it introduce me to buying on aliexpress but it also introduced me to this wonderful seller, who is very enthusiastic about his product, willing to share his knowledge, willing to negotiate to help you buy what you want, and is a caring seller. He tracked my purchase and contacted me when he was worried it was taking too long ( stuck in customs).
The dry tea smells of chocolate and rye bread whereas the wet leaves reminds me of chocolate and raisins.
Brewed western style, the tea brews to a bright copper colour and smells of honey, malt, chocolate, and raisin.
The flavour is of malt, cocoa almost ovaltine and brownies. There is a hint of floral in early sips that disappears, and a hint of honey. It tastes smooth with just a mild hint of astringency. The tea leaves a clean taste in the mouth with the aftertaste of honey and brownies. The second steep is honey, caramel and cocoa with hints of malt. I can get many steeps out of this tea often over six when brewed western style.
When brewed gonfu style the tea is more a pretty amber shade, that is kind of a brown touched gold colour.
With shorter steeps I find that the tea smells of chocolate, brownies, grain, ovaltine, and honey.
The tea feels kind of silky in the mouth with tastes of rich, dark cocoa, ovaltine with honey, and richer notes hinting at molasses and brownies, malted milk. Later steeps bring out tones of caramel, and a touch of vanilla. Honey and cocoa linger in the aftertaste.
This tea is lovely! Rich and deep with notes of malt, cocoa, caramel and honey that work together to remind me of the taste of brownies.
The one I purchased under the black tea category came packed in individual packages that usually allow me three to four different sessions of tea. Which is great as it is easy to travel with and helps to keep the tea fresh. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/qingdao-laoshan-Black-Tea-flavored-black-tea-organizer/619772_789569691.html.
This tea reminds me of a slightly floral molasses gingerbread, which is odd as ginger is not listed in the ingredients in the description but nevertheless this is what the brewed tea and dried leaf smells like to me.
The first flavour on my tongue reminds me of Chinese five spice powder over a slightly earthy, malty flavour with a hint of citrus. The aftertaste has warm sweet note on roof of mouth and a warm buzzing on the tongue. The tea is quite sweet with fennel like sweet notes that become most apparent after the initial sip. The base is rich and deep and malty. This is a cloves dominant chai, but the coriander, fennel and licorice notes, work well to balance it. The rose and safflower notes are present as secondary notes in the flavour after the five spice note. The safflower adds a slightly fruity freshening note and the rose adds more depth to the flavour. I’m actually surprised at how much I like this as I usually dislike cloves dominated tea, A great tea for fall and the winter holidays.
This really makes a wonderful all day tea as I regularly get somewhere between 7-11 infusions out this tea. Unlike some of my other blacks that re-steep well this one manages to keep a very consistent flavour for the first 4 or 5 infusions a well.
This one has very tightly rolled curly shiny dark brown to black leaves with some golden tips. The dry leaf smells of chocolate, sweet potato and a touch of hay.
Brewing up to a beautiful clear copper orange color the tea feels silky in the mouth like a oolong.
The tea has tastes and aromas of cocoa, blackened roasted sweet potato, plum and longan, cinnamon and at times a savoury note that ranges from rosemary to pepper, and honey and bit of malt. A sweet, cocoa, honeyed sweet potato taste lingers for quite a while. After the first steep the sweet cocoa and longan intensify, before the tea goes through a period where malt and longan dominate with a bit of cocoa and eventually the tea becomes a honey flavoured water. Really nice mellow all day tea.
This tea is sold by several aliexpress dealers. I got it at this one
The farmer has a Taobao shop fom which you can buy direct. I think he has sold out of this specific harvest but this is the most recent one.
These are his other teas
He has a 10-20 Acre farm from which he produces and sells his teas directly.