It’s time to move on to one of the teas I drank in July. I spent a lot of time with this one. I think I spent a week working my way through a 50 gram pouch of this tea, probably conducting around 5 or 6 gongfu sessions with it. Overall, I found it to be an excellent example of a Golden Monkey black tea.

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 chased by 18 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, cinnamon, chocolate, smoke, cedar, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, and cream that were underscored by a subtle geranium scent. The first infusion brought out aromas of brown sugar and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, cream, roasted peanut, brown sugar, and chocolate that were backed by hints of baked bread, smoke, cedar, cinnamon, roasted almond, and sweet potato. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, earth, lemon zest, and black pepper. I also caught more clearly defined geranium scents and some subtle butter and green olive aromas. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of roasted almond, cedar, smoke, and baked bread came out in the mouth along with hints of roasted walnut, geranium, black pepper, and green olive. I also detected impressions of earth, orange zest, lemon zest, minerals, butter, and moss. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, cedar, roasted almond, cinnamon, smoke, malt, and cream that were underscored by hints of baked bread, butter, orange zest, green olive, sweet potato, chocolate, and brown sugar.

This was an incredibly enjoyable Fujianese black tea. I can see why each year’s release quickly finds an audience here on Steepster. This tea offered up a liquor that was not only tremendously aromatic and flavorful, but also displayed great body and texture in the mouth. I would definitely recommend this one, but if it is no longer available, or you just don’t want to spend money on an older tea, pick up some of this year’s harvest or wait until next spring.

Flavors: Almond, Almond, Black Pepper, Black Pepper, Bread, Bread, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butter, Cedar, Cedar, Chocolate, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Cream, Earth, Earth, Geranium, Geranium, Lemon Zest, Lemon Zest, Malt, Malt, Mineral, Mineral, Moss, Moss, Olives, Olives, Orange Zest, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peanut, Smoke, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut, Walnut

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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