Here’s another sipdown. To this point, this has probably been the most interesting black tea I’ve tried this month. It has taken me nearly a full week to reach a consensus on this one, but I ultimately found it to be a worthy tea.
I prepared this one Western style. For this session, I steeped approximately 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 205 F water for 5 minutes. I did not conduct any additional infusions this time, though I have tried it in the past. I avoided it here because I found that a single five minute infusion worked best for me. It seemed to bring out some of the tea’s more unique characteristics. I must say, however, that I never got around to gongfuing this one and I regret that. It would be interesting to see how this tea would react to such a treatment.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced an interesting malty, woodsy bouquet. After infusion, the dark copper tea liquor produced intense aromas of wood, cream, malt, molasses, cocoa, and menthol. In the mouth, I clearly detected notes of cocoa, cream, malt, molasses, toast, wood, honey, dates, peppermint, and wintergreen backed by notes of chestnut and walnut which became noticeable on the finish.
Prior to trying this tea, I knew absolutely nothing about this cultivar and had no clue what to expect. After trying it for the first time, I determined that it had to be some sort of Taiwanese Assam because it was so reminiscent of some of the wild Assamicas that come out of southern China and Vietnam. Lo and behold, I was kind of right. This cultivar was at least partially developed from the wild-growing Taiwanese Assamica plants that have produced some of the most acclaimed black teas in recent years. That being said, this tea was not your typical Assam-type black tea. If you approach this tea expecting it to be similar to a typical Assam, you may end up disappointed. Compared to a typical Assam tea, this was much more herbal and much more intense all around. It was a very enjoyable, if rather quirky tea, but it was also not the sort of black tea I would see myself reaching for on a regular basis.
Flavors: Chestnut, Cocoa, Cream, Dates, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Peppermint, Toast, Walnut, Wood