I got it as a manufacturer sample. It’s early spring tea of Keemun cultivar made into spiral shape (similar to the shape of Bi Luo Chun green tea). The specific processing method was invented in 1997 and the product has been sold well in Japanese and Korean market. It’s rather expensive for a black tea. I’ve been curious about what’s in it.
The dry tea leaves look very delicate, with golden tips on the little black leaf buds. The aroma of dry leaves is very pleasant, almost floral. It’s an aroma that is found more on green tea than black tea.
I used a glass mug to brew the tea, with newly boiled water but had it sit in the mug for a few minutes before throwing in tea leaves. The sample is 4g leaves, a little more than I usually use in a mug. I hesitated for a second and threw all the 4 grams in the mug. Sometimes this is how I made a cup of tea too strong and regret for it. But luckily this tea turned out fine.
The first infusion turned out ruby color liquor typical of keemun. The aroma is very keemun too, even better than keemun, I think. But the flavor, in my opinion, was just ok and didn’t match up to its fantastic aroma and beautiful leaf shape. It was very pleasant sugary flavor and left the mouth soothed and moist. But I didn’t find as long lasting aromatic aftertaste as in my favorite keemun black tea. Could it be that the spring tea leaves are too subtle to have such aromatic aftertaste? The flavor was very stable in the first 3 infusions, which I think, is very outstanding for a black tea. I had totally 6 infusions or so out of this tea. Another great characteristic of this tea is that it seems very tolerant of long infusion and also performs well even if too many tea leaves are used in the brewing. It’s a tea that won’t go wrong. Just because of this feature and its beautiful leaves, I can see it must be adored by many people. I enjoyed every sip of this tea, but have decided that for the same price I would rather buy other teas. I guess it’s mainly because great aftertaste of a tea is quite important to me. But people who love its unique flavor may find it irreplaceable.
What I’ve found a little weird about myself is, when a tea doesn’t meet my expectation to a full degree, I could feel no disappointment, but even a bit released. It’s more of a release when you naturally stay out of love with an expensive tea. Life is short. Too many teas, too little time to drink. With one less tea to love, a tea drinker may stay less crazy. Ha!