I am so very glad that I take notes in my tea notebook and that I tasted the teas I wanted to for this week, because yours truly has decided to catch some sort of nastiness. Either it is a cold, pharyngitis, or allergies (or my immune system playing some perverse game with me), whatever it is I feel awful and I would like it to go away. Sadly this does put a bit of a damper on my enjoyment of tea because my throat is so sore, when tea causes pain to sip you know you are in for a bad day. Luckily my brain seems to be functioning normally, so I can’t complain too much.
Today’s Teavivre tea is Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea, a Dian Hong without an equal, that is what the Nonpareil part of the name means. Hailing from Yunnan (It seems to be this week’s true theme) and plucked March of 2013, this tea is one of the most famous of China’s red (or black, your preference) teas. The aroma is quite sweet and fruity, a blend of cherries and stewed plums with a little whiff of cinnamon. There are also notes of molasses and a delicate floral finish that smells like violets. The floral note is very faint, reminiscent of a breeze carrying the aroma of flowers from a distant field.
Once the tea is brewed it keeps its stewed plums (and a touch of prunes) and adds a strong note of cocoa, there is also a faint hint of molasses. It smells quite sweet and a bit decadent. The aroma has a warmth to it that is pleasant. The liquid sans the leaf has a honey sweet aroma with a blend of creamy cocoa and light caramelized sugar.
The first steep of this tea has a very fruity flavor blending plums and prunes with a slightly sharp fruity note. Think sharp like the taste of a berry, though there is not a distinct berry taste, just the sensation. There is also a strong cocoa note that fades to a honey sweetness. In a word, tasty!
The aroma of the leaves for the second steep have a strong aroma of honey, cocoa, and plum fruit. The liquid is a sweet blend of indistinguishable fruit and flowers with a finish of honey. The taste is a delicious blend of fruit, honey, and cocoa with a finish of roasted peanuts. The peanut tastes lingers for a sweet and slightly roasted aftertaste.
For the third and final steep I notice that the wet leaves have a slightly spicy aroma similar to the dry leaves, with notes of cocoa and honey. The liquid is faintly sweet with a delicate note of fruit and a slight creaminess. The taste is richly cocoa with a hint of spice and a finish of fruit. The cocoa note is the strongest this time while the others are faint. This tea is mellow, sweet, and enjoyable, some of my favorite qualities in a black tea. The plum flavor and aroma give it a uniqueness that I found very enjoyable.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Plums