Your Personal Favorite Black
What is the absolute best black tea (preferably straight, but flavored is fine, too!) you’ve ever tasted and why? What made it so good? Where did you stumble upon it? What are some of the subtle nuances that set it apart from the rest?
My favorite has to be a tie between the Golden Monkey Black by Teavivre, or the Chinese Breakfast by Rishi. The Golden Monkey was especially tasty because it was so silky and malty…I think it was one of the first teas where I could pick up and sense the different nuances of chocolate and caramel and other extraordinary flavors that plain tea can offer, which really redefined what I thought about tea. The Chinese Breakfast was just an all around great tea that really helps get me through my morning classes, and while it is pretty basic, the simplicity is what gets me.
So let’s hear it!
P.S. for anyone who has tried dragon pearl black tea, is it really as amazing as it looks? I haven’t done much research yet but I think that’s the next one I’d like to try…
Your PS seems appropriate, since my answer is actually Teavivre’s Black Dragon Pearls. They look cute and are convenient, yes, but I also find them REALLY consistent. The pre-shaped balls makes it easy to use the same amount of leaf regularly, and the taste is solid. It doesn’t re-steep as well as a couple other black teas I enjoy, but it is my favourite for a consistently great cuppa.
A couple others I enjoy regularly are Verdant’s Laoshan Black, Teavivre’s Yun Nan Dian Hong (I prefer their cheapest grade, I find it more cocoa-y and delicious) and Davids Tea’s Wild Black Yunnan. Obviously, Chinese blacks are my thing. Keemun Mao Feng from Harney and Sons is also fantastic, though it went up in price quite a bit a year or two back and I haven’t tried it since. They used to have a Golden Snail that was amazing as well, but I haven’t found anything quite like that one yet.
Teavivre Full Leaf Yunnan Black
Verdant Tea Laoshan Black
Teavivre Keemun Hao Ya A
Gotta put in another vote for Verdant’s Laoshan Black. I also love their Zhu Rong Yunnan Black!
Tan Yang Te Ji from TeaSpring. I keep trying to find a reason not to order more because it is the only tea I order from there, but I can’t ‘quit it’.
Ditto for the black teas at Teavivre (add in Bailin Gongfu, though) and Laoshan Black from Verdant. Keemun Mao Feng from Harney. Luckily the price went back down so I could feed that addiction without guilt. My favorite breakfast tea is Malachi McCormick from Harney. It is a Keemun with a kick of Assam that is perfect for morning tea.
I could never pick just one…..
I was going to say Tan Yang Te Ji as well. It just cannot be beat, in my opinion.
(Raise your hand if you’re at all surprised. :p )
I am so glad I havent tried that one yet. I think it would be bad for my self control.
Uniquity, if you like Fujian black, you MUST try that one. :D TeaSpring’s prices are a bit high, but their shipping is very inexpensive, which IMO makes up for it.
I haven’t had any of it for a long time now. I find it’s good to take a longer break from the absolute favourites now and then. It stops them from ever becoming too familiar. :)
I am a darjeeling and ceylon fan. And love a-not-too- strong lapsang at times…. but that is the only black Chinese I drink, not too keen on other Chinese blacks, sorry.
Try Amba Tea Estate in Sri Lanka. Best Ceylon I have ever had.
http://teahills.co.uk/Artesan_Teas.html, (I’ve also seen it for sale at Fortnums and Postcard teas)
Also carried by Camellia-Sinensis (though they are out of it at present):
I have a bag that I should open soon.
Yep. I’ve also had it from Harney and Sons. Both were good so think its just a good tea estate.
Jin Pin from Yezi Tea. Without a doubt! For explanation, please look at my tasting notes for it. :)
I have had several black dragon pearls. While, I think they are good teas, I am just spoiled by Jin Pin and cannot consider them to be well rounded enough to list them in my favorite black/red teas.
Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain. There’s nothing like it. The natural honey like sweetness is addictive. There are some that come close, but not close enough for me to ever give it up.
I like Yezi Tea’s Jin Jun Mei for its malty, chocolately, cockle-warming goodness, and the African teas from Upton.
I’m really fond of the Jun Chiyabari Tea Estate if I want something floral, and Amba Tea Estate if I want a nice rich sweet black.
Either Mandala’s Black Beauty or Verdant’s Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha.
Update: Whoops, to answer the rest of the question…Black Beauty is completely smooth but bold and a little sweet, which is unusual for me. And the Chocolate Genmaicha….this one kind of makes my head pop off with the basic Laoshan chocolate toasted notes turned up to 10. Apparently I now consider Laoshan a flavor.