The liquor is a beautiful deep gold and smells like burnt sugar. The leaves have that smell too, but it’s joined by some kind of fruity, intensely sweet smell I can’t name. It reminds me of fruit soda flavoured chapstick from the ‘90s, of all things… It’s intoxicatingly strong.

I first tried brewing this like gyokuro – 10g tea in my kyusu, 1:30 steep time, 160F water. The results were underwhelming; it tasted like it should have had umami notes brought out by the steeping, but didn’t, if that makes any sense. Even so, it had a rich, kind of malty flavour.

Brewed gongfu at 180 F, it still yielded a beautiful liquor. This style suits it much better, I think. The wet leaves smelled similar to how they did in the kyusu, but the higher temperature brought out a faint chocolatey note as well. The taste was malty, with mild bitterness. It had that umami note I knew should have been there! Very warming, and lighter in feel than black teas I’ve tried with a similar flavour profile.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Umami

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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I like trying unique teas, especially those from areas of the world not known for tea production. It’s always something of a gamble and can lead to all kinds of surprises.

While I’m usually not into flavoured or scented teas, there are definitely exceptions. Hei cha which is not pu-erh tends to be my favourite category of tea, but I like some teas of all types. Smoky, creamy, and honey-like tastes generally appeal to me the most.

Top five teas I’ve had thus far (in no particular order):

Mekong Breakfast from Rakkasan Tea Company

2015 Gao Jia Shan “Cha Duo Tang” Wild Harvested Hunan Fu Brick Tea, from Yunnan Sourcing

Asahina Gyokuro “Hon Gyokuro” from Hojo Tea

Any good Lapsang Souchong

2018 Cha Yu Lin “Liu Bu Xi Village” Tian Jian Basket Tea from Yunnan Sourcing


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