This was my most recent sipdown and a tea I had been looking forward to since trying Yunnan Sourcing’s Royal Chrysanthemum Flower and Big Snow Mountain Black Tea Dragon Ball (still need to post a review for that one). Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it nearly as much as the other tea since I found the snow chrysanthemum to frequently overpower the tea base. Yunnan Sourcing’s Big Snow Mountain of Mengku Black Tea is not the most powerful or assertive Yunnan black tea, and I did not think it had room to shine when paired with these snow chrysanthemum flowers.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped the entire dragon ball in 160 ml of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry dragon ball produced aromas of chrysanthemum, dill, mandarin orange, and malt. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of cream, butter, cinnamon, and black pepper as well as amplified scents of chrysanthemum and malt. The first infusion introduced subtle aromas of oats and red grape. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of cream, chrysanthemum, butter, oats, and dill that were chased by hints of mandarin orange, roasted almond, baked bread, red grape, and sweet potato. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of baked bread, camphor, ginger, nutmeg, caramel, and eucalyptus alongside subtle scents of sweet potato. I picked up a little more baked bread, red grape, sweet potato, and roasted almond in the mouth as well as notes of minerals, camphor, eucalyptus, ginger, cocoa, nutmeg, caramel, and red apple. I also noted belatedly appearing cinnamon, malt, and black pepper impressions and hints of earth and plum. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to offer chrysanthemum, mandarin orange, dill, black pepper, cinnamon, and red apple notes that were supported by hints of roasted almond, baked bread, earth, red grape, and sweet potato.

This struck me as being an okay chrysanthemum black tea. It was nothing special. There wasn’t a lot of integration of snow chrysanthemum and black tea aromas and flavors. The notes one would generally get from snow chrysanthemum flowers dominated the proceedings here while the contributions from the tea base were always playing second fiddle. I think a more assertive, robust black tea would have worked better for a blend of this type.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dill, Earth, Eucalyptus, Floral, Ginger, Grapes, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Oats, Orange, Plum, Red Apple, Sweet Potatoes

8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

Chrysanthemum teas are so tricky and prone to going overboard…

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Chrysanthemum teas are so tricky and prone to going overboard…

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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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