Time to make another effort to reduce the number of backlogged reviews. I polished off a one ounce pouch of this tea a couple weeks ago. I found it to be a very respectable, approachable Yunnan black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 200 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of honey, cedar, and citrus. After the rinse, I discovered new scents of roasted nuts, wood, cream, and malt. The first proper infusion brought out touches of spice and pine. In the mouth, I found notes of citrus, malt, cream, wood, roasted chestnut, and honey with slight undertones of smoke and chocolate before a mostly nutty, malty finish. Subsequent infusions brought out the cedar and pine in the mouth, as well as clear touches of orange zest and stronger smoke and chocolate flavors. I also began to pick up notes of caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, dates, bread, minerals, and red apple. The later infusions offered fleeting impressions of bread, malt, and minerals with hints of roasted chestnut and orange zest. There was a brief hit of brown sugar sweetness that lingered on the tongue after the swallow.

For the price, this was a rock solid Yunnan black tea. Though it was not quite as smooth or as sophisticated as some others I have tried, for what this was, it was very nice. I didn’t take notes, but I also brewed this as an iced tea and it was good. I definitely think this could make a very good introduction to Yunnan black teas for those who are curious or a reliably good, consistent budget brew for regular consumption.

Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cedar, Chestnut, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Dates, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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