This was my third sipdown of the week. It seems that I have been really motivated to finish some of the teas I have been holding on to for a while. Going through my tea stash to locate this tea also made me realize that I have a larger number of 2017 and 2018 Yunnan Sourcing black teas than I thought, so expect many more black tea reviews in the coming months. Anyway, I decided to work my way through what I had of this tea mostly because the previous two Yunnan black teas I had finished were dragon ball teas, and well, I wanted to get back to brewing loose leaf black tea. I recalled liking the autumn 2016 version of this tea and knew that I had this spring 2017 version somewhere, so I went through my stash, located it, and started working my way through it. I found it to be a very satisfying and likable Yunnan black tea, but I did not enjoy it quite as much as the previous offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, cedar, sweet potato, tobacco, pine, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, I detected aromas of baked bread, honey, orange zest, black pepper, molasses, and brown sugar. The first infusion brought out aromas of cream, cinnamon, earth, and camphor. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of malt, cedar, cream, baked bread, pine, sweet potato, earth, and orange zest that were chased by hints of honey, tobacco, cinnamon, and eucalyptus. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of vanilla, roasted almond, chocolate, and caramel along with some subtle smoky scents and even stronger herbal and spicy components. Camphor, brown sugar, molasses, and black pepper notes came out in the mouth with stronger and more immediate tobacco, honey, cinnamon, and eucalyptus impressions. New impressions of minerals, vanilla, roasted almond, lemon zest, caramel, and chocolate also appeared along with some subtle hints of smoke. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering mineral, baked bread, malt, cream, chocolate, roasted almond, and earth notes that were supported by accents of honey, molasses, sweet potato, camphor, tobacco, and eucalyptus.

This was another very good, very solid Yunnan black tea in a long line of very good, very solid Yunnan black teas offered by Yunnan Sourcing. I noticed that this tea revealed more on the nose from the very start than the autumn 2016 offering, and while both teas were similar in the mouth, the autumn 2016 offering struck me as being more pungent and prickly. This was a smoother, subtler tea in comparison, and though it was more or less as good as its predecessor, I actually enjoyed the prickliness of the other tea and found myself missing it in this one. Still, this was a rock solid Yunnan black tea, one that fans of such teas would likely enjoy.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pine, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, this sounds lovely.

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Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, this sounds lovely.

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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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