Catching up on some Dexter, watching some tea…
It’s a pretty awesome way to start a Sunday morning.
So, I’ve been looking forward to this H&S sample since I ordered it. I’ve only had one other Yunnan (Adagio’s Yunnan Jig), and this one is supposed to be “tippy” which in the tea world signifies “better than average.” Or at least, that’s what it sounds like.
Anyway, when I opened the packet, I was a little surprised at how broken the leaves were. Yunnan Jig’s leaves are long and wiry. These were a bit more chopped up. The smell coming from them was earthy-strong, with a bit of white pepper mixed in. Other than that, the dominant aroma was black tea. Hrm.
So I steeped this sucker up, and I was pretty surprised at how dark the tea is. It’s really dark. Darker than mahogany, but not the purple-black that pu-erh has. The infusion actually has a fairly pu-erh scent to it as well. Rich earth of pu-erh, mixed with a bit of smokiness. Maybe some pipe tobacco? It’s easy to see how the teas of Yunnan are linked to pu-erh (common origin and all that).
At peak hotness, this tea is pretty malty and strong. The dominant flavors are definitely smoke and peppery, mixed with a earthiness that’s pretty interesting. Very brisk, slightly astringent, but not that complex and interesting.
As the tea cools, a sweet element begins to build that’s somewhat like dried maple, but not nearly as strong and assertive as I would have liked. It’s a tantalizing whiff, but it never builds into anything substantial.
This tea is a tease. It should be so much better, but it’s really not. It’s just fairly average. Rishi’s Golden Yunnan (of the sample I’ve tried) is loads better, with caramelized, sweet potato notes, and it’s around the same price. I like Adagio’s Yunnan Jig a lot better as well.
So yeah, a fairly serviceable tea, but it’s not going to have sparks shooting out of your eyes or anything like that.