Yay, I’m back on Steepster after a hellacious three days of work. I put in a 10 hour day on Saturday followed by an 8-9 hour day Sunday and then another 10 hour day yesterday. Today is the closest thing I have gotten to an off day in the last week, and I am technically still on the clock now. Anyway, this was one of my most recent sipdowns, as I finished the last of my 50g pouch of this tea Saturday morning. I have always perceived Jingmai black teas to be floral and citric in character, but this one was very nutty, herbal, and spicy. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it struck me as lacking some of the more typical characteristics of the Jingmai terroir.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, 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 presented aromas of roasted walnut, roasted peanut, raisin, earth, tobacco, cinnamon, and cocoa. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of malt, roasted almond, and butter. The first infusion introduced aromas of baked bread and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted walnut, roasted peanut, earth, cooked green beans, tobacco, cream, malt, and baked bread that were balanced by subtler impressions of butter, raisin, honey, roasted almond, and cocoa. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out additional aromas of honey, sugarcane, black pepper, roasted hazelnut, and nutmeg. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of butter, honey, raisin, roasted almond, and cocoa appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of caramel, molasses, sugarcane, minerals, orange zest, roasted hazelnut, red apple, nutmeg, and ginger. I also detected hints of cinnamon, marshmallow, black pepper, vanilla, and lemon zest. As the tea shifted and faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, malt, cream, butter, cooked green beans, orange zest, roasted hazelnut, roasted peanut, and roasted walnut that were chased by hints of honey, raisin, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, baked bread, tobacco, and red apple.

This was a very rich, soothing, gentle black tea with tremendous depth and complexity in the mouth. While I would have liked to see some floral character and more of a citrus presence, this was still a very nice, refined offering overall. Fans of dark, nutty black teas would undoubtedly be thrilled with this tea.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Ginger, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Time for a break and a hot cuppa my friend. My work has been crazy as well with the long days.

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Time for a break and a hot cuppa my friend. My work has been crazy as well with the long days.

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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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