Okay, I’m back. These last few days have wiped me out. I have had to put in a ton of work hours and getting everything ready to start school in the summer is driving me up the wall. In order to maintain both a level of energy conducive to being productive and my seemingly eroding sanity, I have been mowing down black tea samples like crazy. This was the first of the bunch that I finished and it definitely did a lot to push me into my current black tea kick. I found this to be a mellow, yet exceptionally rewarding, black tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse (I more or less flash rinse most black teas), I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 3 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 5 seconds, 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 honey, caramel, and molasses. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of malt, sweet potato, and roasted walnut. The first infusion then brought out hints of cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered dominant malty notes backed by milder impressions of molasses, cream, and sweet potato and some hints of spice on the swallow. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of brown toast, cocoa, and herbs on the nose. Molasses, sweet potato, and cream notes were stronger in the mouth, and the spice impressions quickly became more prominent as the previously missing notes of roasted walnut, honey, and caramel belatedly emerged. New impressions of candied orange peel, leather, brown toast, camphor, cocoa, pine, eucalyptus, spruce, tobacco, plum, raisin, black pepper, and minerals also revealed themselves in the mouth. The final infusions presented subtler notes of minerals, brown toast, pine, malt, camphor, and eucalyptus balanced by delicate roasted walnut, black pepper, honey, and cocoa impressions.
Compared to most of the Yunnan black teas I have tried to this point, this one was noticeably lighter, smoother, and more delicate. I’m guessing that the age of my sample had something to do with that. It was one that I had bought either at the end of 2016 or the start of 2017 and forgot about entirely before organizing the sample hoard. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this tea. It had aged incredibly gracefully while in my keep, and should What-Cha ever restock it, I would very likely purchase it again.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Camphor, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Eucalyptus, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Orange, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Walnut, Wood