Here is yet another recent sipdown. I think I finished a 10g sample pouch of this tea back around the end of November. I always like to end each month by focusing on polishing off a few sample pouches, so this was set aside specifically for that purpose. I was also going through black teas like crazy and specifically wanted something that was a little different. Toba Wangi does some interesting things, and with this tea, they took a Taiwanese oolong cultivar (Si Ji Chun) and used it to produce a black tea. The results were great.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of plum, cedar, chocolate, honey, and blood orange. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of orchid, roasted peanut, and malt. The first infusion introduced subtle scents of toast and brown sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of cedar, plum, chocolate, honey, blood orange, orchid, toast, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of nutmeg, smoke, and malt. The subsequent infusions introduced scents of ginger, raisin, violet, and lemon candy. Brown sugar notes came out in the mouth along with slightly stronger and more immediate notes of malt and smoke. New impressions of minerals, cream, cinnamon, raisin, ginger, violet, and lemon candy also appeared. By the end of the session, I could still pick up on notes of minerals, malt, roasted peanut, cream, and toast that were chased by fleeting hints of lemon candy, chocolate, nutmeg, and raisin.
This was one unique and satisfying black tea. I especially appreciated the fact that the natural floral sweetness of the Si Ji Chun cultivar was not lost. Too often tea producers can fall into the habit of doing the same old things over and over again, but offerings like this demonstrate that trying new and unusual things sometimes yields tremendously enjoyable results. If this tea is ever offered again or is available elsewhere, make a point of trying it if you are into floral, fruity black teas. I doubt you will be disappointed.
Flavors: Blood Orange, Brown Sugar, Candy, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orchid, Peanut, Plums, Raisins, Smoke, Toast, Violet