This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I purchased a 100g pouch of this tea when it was first listed back in the spring of 2018 and ended up storing it until I worked through many of the older teas I had. I finally got around to trying it a couple weeks ago and spent the better part of four or five days working my way through all of it. It had held up well in storage and struck me as an enjoyable enough Yunnan black tea, but I’ve had better. It seems that I always end up feeling this way about teas like this one.
I opted to prepare this tea gongfu style. After quickly rinsing 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water, I started the session off with a 5 second infusion. This infusion was followed 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, raisin, dark chocolate, sugarcane, prune, cedar, and cinnamon that were underscored by a subtle scent of leather. After the rinse, I detected new roasted peanut and cooked green bean aromas. The first infusion brought out a baked bread aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor expressed notes of malt, earth, baked bread, cream, cooked green beans, and dark chocolate that were balanced by subtler notes of cinnamon, roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and raisin. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of earth, smoke, orange zest, marshmallow, roasted almond, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately apparent impressions of roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and raisin expressed themselves in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, vanilla, sweet potato, sugarcane, marshmallow, and orange zest. I also detected hints of leather, cedar, smoke, prune, grass, honey, pear, and apple. Towards the end of the session, the tea liquor softened and settled, emphasizing lingering impressions of minerals, earth, malt, marshmallow, caramel, orange zest, and cooked green beans that were chased by fleeting hints of raisin, sugarcane, honey, grass, roasted almond, dark chocolate, vanilla, and baked bread.
This was not a bad Yunnan black tea overall, but I also felt that it was not particularly memorable or unique. I have tried numerous teas that were very similar to this one, so I was hoping for at least one enjoyable trait that would stand out enough to set this tea apart. Unfortunately, I failed to find that trait. This was an enjoyable Yunnan black tea, one that had more than enough depth and complexity to be satisfying, but it did not strike me as being anything truly special.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Bread, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Prune, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla