This was my first sipdown of the month. I somehow ended up with a ton of this tea back in 2017 and put a 100 gram pouch in storage to test its aging capabilities. I finally broke that pouch out during the last week of February and spent most of that week plus the first few days of the current month finishing it. I found it to be a very nice Yunnan black tea and one that was indeed suitable for aging.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 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 chocolate, pine, malt, cedar, cinnamon, and marshmallow. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of baked bread, raisin, burnt sugar, honey, and roasted almond. The first infusion introduced aromas of orange zest and black cherry that were underscored by hints of smoke and geranium. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of chocolate, burnt sugar, cinnamon, malt, and baked bread that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, cedar, pine, and orange zest. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of roasted peanut, vanilla, leather, prune, camphor, and black pepper. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, cedar, pine, and orange zest appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, roasted peanut, raisin, leather, marshmallow, vanilla, earth, cream, prune, and cooked green beans. Hints of grass, smoke, caramelized banana, black pepper, geranium, camphor, and black cherry could be detected as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, burnt sugar, roasted peanut, malt, cinnamon, and orange zest that were chased by hints of leather, roasted almond, black pepper, chocolate, baked bread, camphor, and pine.

This was a rock solid and very likable Yunnan black tea at a great price. It also seemed to have deteriorated very little in nearly three years of storage. Though one could easily find more unique and challenging Yunnan black teas on the market, this one proved to still be well worth a try. I could definitely see a tea like this making a great daily drinker and a fantastic introduction to the wonderful world of Yunnan black tea.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Camphor, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Sugar, Vanilla

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

…but 100 grams of the same tea in a couple weeks?!? I think I’d get so bored…

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…but 100 grams of the same tea in a couple weeks?!? I think I’d get so bored…

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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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