Tried this tea for the first time on Friday, brewed up Gongfu and paired with an absolutely incredible raisin and fennel corn crusted baguette from a local bakery!
I actually started with the baguette, and then tried to pick a tea to drink specifically when I ate the baguette – so thank you to James/Shredsofmetal for helping me select the tea! We generally have very, very similar tastes in hongcha, so when he said that this was a really raisin-y tea that would suit the bread quite well (based on the description of the bread) I definitely trusted his opinion!
Of course, unsurprisingly, he was absolutely correct. I knew he would be as soon as I opened up the sealed bag of loose tea for the first time; the smell of the dry leaves was deeply, sweet raisin-y with a hint of malt and autumnal leaves. I was salivating before I’d even begun to heat the kettle!
Similar to my experience with a lot of W2T’s black teas, this doesn’t have a ton of longevity when brewed Gong Fu – which is why I often drink most of White2Tea’s black teas Western style or Grandpa style. I have a gut feeling this would be incredible brewed up in a big ass, huggable mug. So, I got about five really solid infusions of this when brewed Gongfu – and then two more lousy ones at the end of the session that I’m not going to count against the tea.
The tea was thick, full bodied and raisin-y right off the bat; and that raisin note continued all throughout the session – easily the most prominent flavour throughout the whole session. However, it wasn’t all raisin notes: I also thought that this was pretty sweet and malty, with undertones of very dark cocoa as well and even a hint of overripe, dark cherries during the middle of the session.
The bread was essentially fancy raisin bread – so of course a very raisin-y tea and a sweet, raisin heavy bread would compliment one another; but it did go farther than that: the maty, cocoa notes in the tea also complimented the raisin and the sweetness and licorice-y note of the fennel in the bread added a hint of sweetness to the tea as well. Essentially just making both sweeter and more robust feeling.