On nights when I have on-call duty, I like to have something caffeinated in the evening. Since I need to sleep lightly and be up and out the door on a moment’s notice, it’s a good idea for me to drink something that gives me enough energy to get the job done. Yesterday, this unique black tea was my evening tea. I had put off trying it for nearly a month, but after spending the better part of a week drinking flavored teas, I wanted something light, sweet, and fruity that was unflavored. This was the best choice I had.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. Since I have been experimenting with my gongfu preparation lately, I did not specifically follow Verdant Tea’s suggestions. Following a very quick rinse (approximately 2-3 seconds), I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. I performed 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 18 seconds, 21 seconds, 25 seconds, 29 seconds, 34 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, and 1 minute 15 seconds.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off powerful aromas of clementine, lychee, cantaloupe, and honey. After the rinse, I detected even more powerful aromas of lychee, honey, cantaloupe, and clementine. I also picked up a faint aroma of peach. The first infusion provided the expected pronounced fruitiness on the nose. In the mouth, robust notes of honey, cantaloupe, lychee, clementine, peach, rose, and wood filled the mouth. The second infusion provided a fruity nose with a more floral touch. In the mouth, I noted exceptionally strong, yet balanced notes of lychee, cantaloupe, peach, clementine, honey, and rose underscored by touches of wood, herbs, and a subtle toastiness. The following series of infusions played up strongly integrated aromas and flavors of clementine, lychee, rose, cantaloupe, and honey balanced by toast, herb, peach, and wood notes. Later infusions saw the fruitiness fade a tad and more pronounced touches of honey, rose, herbs, toast, and wood emerge. By the final 2-3 infusions, touches of lychee, peach, and cantaloupe remained, though the clementine presence was still quite detectable. There were still aromas and flavors of toast, herbs, and wood hanging around too. I also noted a very subtle mineral presence.
I really enjoyed this tea. Its aroma and flavor profiles are incredibly unique. I could see this going over well with fans of sweeter, more fruit forward teas, but I could also see this working for fans of traditional Chinese black teas as well.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Citrus, Herbs, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Peach, Rose, Toast, Wood