Ancient Forest

Tea type
Black Tea
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Earth, Smoke, Wet Wood, Wood, Honey, Malt, Vanilla
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 12 oz / 369 ml

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From Art of Tea

A specialty of the southwest province of Yunnan, this unique tea is harvested from ancient trees on the protected land of Jingmai Mangjing’s Blue Mountains. 100% organic, hand picked and sorted, this black tea brews a rich, earthy infusion with notes of cedar and honey.

Water Temperature: 206 F degrees
Caffeine Content: Medium Bold
Steep Time: 3-5 minutes
Ingredients: Organic Black Tea.
Origin: Yunnan, China

About Art of Tea View company

Art of Tea is a tea importer and wholesaler based in Los Angeles, California. We hand blend and custom craft the world’s finest organic teas and botanicals. Our teas are carefully selected directly from growers, each one offering a unique story.

5 Tasting Notes

52 tasting notes

This was a Father’s Day gift from my family, so I have been excited to try it. They bought it at my local tea cafe which, as it turns out, only sells Art of Tea teas, so I will have to remember that for future use.

The dried leaves were well-rolled, dark with lots of golden tips interspersed throughout. I found almost no stems in there. The leaves are broken—not whole, but that adds to the flavor, I’m sure.

I used my usual steeping measurements for black tea: 11 grams in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes.

The liquor comes out very dark—much like the teas of my youth. There is no astringency at all to the flavor. The primary flavors are both earthy and woody (wet wood?)—reminding me of what I’m told the better-quality puer teas are supposed to be like. There is also a very faint smoke flavor to it, but definitely more wood and earth than smoke.

Overall, it is a wonderful tea that I will be happy to have again. I don’t think I would’ve picked it myself if I had been shopping on my own since I usually stick with either muscatel/floral Darjeelings or breakfast teas and blends that have malt, toast, or honey for their primary flavors. This is completely different than my usuals but I really enjoyed it and may have to expand my purchases in this direction going forward. I am glad the family got this one for me — definitely an excellent choice!

Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Wet Wood, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 11 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

After reading your notes, I checked out the tea on the Art of Tea website. It seems that they’ve renamed this tea to “6:00 AM” and made it part of their “Time Collection” (See: I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but I wanted to mention it so that you don’t unintentionally end up with a duplicate batch of tea.

Regardless of the name, it sounds like a very intriguing tea, and I loved the dimension you added to it with your description. I’ll have to put this one on my list! :)


Thanks, loudao! I had no idea that they would do that! I hadn’t looked up the tea on their website so I am glad to know about this—thanks! Yes, it is a very intriguing tea and I do recommend trying it. I have only tried two puer teas so far—one was an absolute disaster and the other was okay. This one seems like something that would serve as a “stepping-stone” to enjoying puer flavors; this was not as overpowering as I found the better-quality of my puer teas to be, and I could see getting accustomed to this one and then moving into puer teas from there. Please let me know if you try it and what you think—I’d be interested to hear! :)


I just read all the information on the website—I’m surprised that they listed this as being malty and honey-flavored since I didn’t get that at all. I can see the cedar flavor they note, though—that could very well be the woody flavor I am tasting. Very interesting how different people find different flavors in teas… :)


You’re welcome. I’m happy to help! :)

I am going on a tea trip next week. So, I’ll be on the lookout for this tea on my trip. Maybe one of the shops I’m going to will have it.

I’m surprised that you describe pu-erhs as overpowering. But, you’re right, taste is so individual. I’m very sensitive to tastes and smells, but I also eat a lot of fermented foods. So, even though I have such a sensitivity, I may also be more used to the flavor of the fermentation. My mother is coming with me on the tea trip that I mentioned and she told me that she’s going to try pu-erh tea on our trip. So, perhaps we can order the same tea and see if our impressions differ. She does not eat so many fermented foods, so this should give me some idea of whether I’m more tolerant of those strong pu-erh tastes than others are.

One thing I have noticed is that tasting notes for pu-erhs tend to have more range than other teas. I think this is because of how they’re stored. If you take a tin of tea into a hot, arid climate or into a cool, humid climate, it’s still in the tin, so it’s much more insulated from those climate differences. Pu-erh is pressed into cakes and covered with paper which is much more permeable than a tin. So, what environment it’s kept in can have a significant influence on the notes that develop in it — particularly for pu-erhs that are aged for many years and thus have many years of storage influencing their flavor.

In regards to the description on the website, I’ve noticed that sometimes tea professionals have different words for notes than other people. It’s kind of like what people do with wines. Some wines are called “dry.” But wine is a liquid, so how “dry” could it really be? ;) But, they’re not referring to an actual dryness, but more of a dry mouth feeling, tannins, or astringency. So, what I do is I try to look within the same vicinity as the taste they’re referring to. Like, honey would translate to warmth and sweetness. Cedar is a very clean wood, so I’d look for a woody flavor that’s not a wet wood taste, but a clean, more dry wood taste. Many times, that works. Other times, they’re so far off that it’s not just that we have different tongues, but maybe we were drinking different teas. ;)


What a fantastic Father’s Day gift!


Excellent points, laudao—thanks for explaining the differences that people have when making taste notes. That does make a lot of sense! Re puer teas: I’m sure my very limited experience is a reason why I feel they can be overpowering, since one of the teas I had was definitely low quality and very bad flavor. I am going to have to try more so I can change my opinion of them, I guess! :)


Fjellrev: It was! My wife and kids know me well, I guess! :)


You’re welcome. :)

I’m actually expecting a large shipment of pu-erh samples in the mail. I picked out ones from many different years (2006-2016), both ripe and raw, and from different price ranges ($17-$42 per cake). I figured that it would not only give me a good ‘lay of the land’ in regards to pu-erh taste variations, but it would also give me an idea of what tastes and scents coincide with high pricing and grading. I’ll be sure to share my impressions! :)


A tea shop opened in my town a few months ago and they also only sell Art of Tea.

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1755 tasting notes

The description of the “creamy texture and notes of amber and honey” this tea purports to provide made me particularly eager to try it. It certainly sounds divine, after all. I was even more interested when I learned that the base tea is Yunnan, as it’s one of my favourite black tea varieties.

Read my full review here:

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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16 tasting notes

Love this tea, complex flavors

Flavors: Earth, Honey, Malt, Vanilla, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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58 tasting notes

This tea had a great deal to live up to, having been hand picked from tea tree’s a 1,000 years old found only in an ancient mountain preserve a mile above sea level. I don’t know if any tea could live up to such a backstory but it is a very fine black tea. It actually tastes quite like an oolong, although not quite as malty. Honey is the predominant note for me, with a woodsy body and a nice smooth finish. My only complaint is that it didn’t hold up very well after 4 steeps but that’s to be expected with the smaller leaves used.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

This was the second Yunnan black I ever had :)


What was the best?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

This one: :D

I’m soooo lucky to be able to import this tea :)

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7 tasting notes

Slight smoky flavor. It reminds me a lot of pu-erh, which I later learned that Yunnan used in this blend is aged longer to form pu-erh blends. This is really my favorite of the black teas. That’s saying a lot when previously my favorite was chai.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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