April 2016 harvest.

Dry leaf smells like rich chocolate syrup with undertones of black raspberry and faint wood. I went for the maximum recommended brewing parameters since it’s old: 2tsp (3g), 300mL, 180F, 45s

Steep 1, 45s: thin and watery with a hint of licorice root. Let’s go longer.
Steep 1.1, 90s: brisk with faint wood and malt. Let’s go longer.
Steep 1.2, 180s: fuller body, brisk, mostly wood, a little bit more malt, fleeting grass, hints of black raspberry and chocolate, lightly cooling. Aroma is noticeable now, with chocolate and black raspberry undertone like the dry leaf. I think I’ll stop here.

This was my first Korean black tea and I have no reference with which to compare. It reminds me a bit of Japanese black teas. Based on my limited experience with Korean green teas and tisanes, I would’ve expected a simple warm and roasty flavor profile. It has nailed simple; I’m guessing age hasn’t favored this tea. I’d be interested in trying a fresh harvest.

Thank you, White Antlers, for the opportunity :)

Flavors: Astringent, Black Raspberry, Chocolate, Grass, Licorice Root, Malt, Wood

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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