Cups #4 and #5 in SimplyJenW’s China black palate training course, of sorts:
Today I decided to do a side by side. I wanted to see if I could taste the difference between a high cost black and a low-mid range one. Bai Yun Shan is my lo-mid range. It is about $7 for 100 grams. My high end choice was ZP99 Imperial Black Golden Needles. It runs over $20 for roughly the same amount (thank you for offering samples, Upton!) I can taste a difference, but it is oh so slight to my untrained palate. The Bai Yun Shan is a good solid black. It does taste slightly more smokey. Brews up about the same color, but maybe slightly darker. Bai Yun Shan’s leaves are stranded and golden tipped, with lots of golden tips…definitely about 50% golden. The leaves on the Golden Needles are probably about the longest I have seen, and are mostly golden colored, probably about 75% golden. The liquor on the Golden Needles is a little thicker, if that is possible, richer tasting. It is smoother and sweeter than the less expensive variety. So I can definitely taste a difference side by side, but I am not sure I would notice much of a difference if I prepared them at different times. Since the one is three times the price of the other, do I really enjoy the more expensive one three times as much? Not really. But this will be an incredibly cool exercise to repeat in a few years!