I’m running out of queue. There are maybe… 3 posts after this one. I don’t know what I’ll do when the queue is empty. I suppose I’ll have to go back to irregular posting again. I do have some things I haven’t written about and I’ve got an order on the way from Nannuoshan, but trying something for the first time and writing about it demands motivation and focus. Those aren’t things you can plan in advance. Right now I haven’t got very much in the way of motivation and focus, really…
Queued post, written September 24th 2014
This one was a freebie with my YS order. It isn’t one I would have chosen for myself, I don’t think, but since it’s here, I might as well try it.
I tend to have mixed experiences with Yunnan blacks. Some of them are lovely, others just taste far too much like hay for my liking, so in general I find it safer to just avoid them.
“Why then,” I hear you ask, “did you go and order from a place called Yunnan Sourcing? There’s a great big clue in the name right there, you wally!”
“Well,” you hear me answer, “remember that sugar-roasted thing I posted about last time? So interesting! How could I not try some? And since I was there anyway, why not look around a bit? Besides the other two things that I actually ordered were oolongs, so I’m not that much of a wally.”
This though… Hmm. Large amount for a freebie? Sample? Nooo. Not sure how much there is here. Maybe around 30g or so. Big sample, but I’m certainly not complaining.
A strange thing happened when I sniffed the dry leaves. There was only really one note there that I could pick up. I mean, there were other notes as well underneath, but this one note struck me as so peculiar that I couldn’t actually look past it. It reminded me strongly of sweet licorice. I KNOW! Weird, huh? I’ve never had licorice show up as a natural note before, I don’t think. There wasn’t any hay-ish notes that I could find, and licorice or not, I think I would have been able to pick up on that, so that’s a good sign.
After brewing it doesn’t smell like licorice anymore, which frankly makes it even more bizarre that the dry leaf does. I expect at least a little overlap here. Instead it has some weak pu-erh-y notes. Rather than smelling like a pu-erh, it smells sort of like, “this is what I could have been had I been processed differently.” Sweet and borderline mushroom-y, borderline earthy, borderline brothy. There is a bit of hay here, but not super much, which is good. I’m not sure what kind of sweetness I’m detecting. It’s not really caramel-y or cocoa-y, but it’s not malt-y either. I think actually the sweetness is connected to the hay note, it’s just standing out more because the hay is not as hay-y as it could have been. (Ugh, Ang… That doesn’t even make sense! Why do you write such rubbish?)
Let’s just move on to tasting it, shall we? The aroma was quite strong and complicated, so I’m surprised by how mild the taste is. Not weak, mind you, but mild. There’s a difference. There’s plenty of flavour, it’s just not very self-asserting. I’m getting the sweet and smooth part of that hay note again and the actual hay-y bit of it does come through on the aftertaste. I could have lived without that, frankly, but I’m also finding it more tolerable than I have done in the past.
The primary note is peppery and prickly, and it comes out more as the tea cools and develops a bit more. As it get pricklier it also gets more forceful and less mild, although it would still not have been my choice for the first cup if the morning had I known.
This is the second time recently that I’ve had a Yunnan black and had a good experience with it. Perhaps my taste is changing a bit. It will never be able to take the place of Fujian black, but perhaps it’s worth exploring a little further here. I suspect I’m missing out on something or other.