Here is another of my sipdowns from earlier in the month. I think I finished my 50 gram pouch of this tea around the start of the second week in December. I was drinking a lot of Chinese black tea at the time and seem to recall this being the tea that ended the binge. I found it to be a rock solid and surprisingly light, delicate Yunnan black tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, sweet potato, sugarcane, molasses, baked bread, and tomato. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced a subtle banana scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of baked bread, malt, sweet potato, sugarcane, and roasted almond that were balanced by somewhat more delicate roasted peanut, cream, cooked green bean, and wood impressions. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cream, chocolate, wood, camphor, earth, grass, black pepper, and fennel. Stronger and more immediate impressions of cream, wood, and cooked green beans emerged in the mouth along with hints of banana, molasses, and tomato. Notes of earth, chocolate, fennel, grass, minerals, caramel, and orange zest also appeared alongside hints of camphor and black pepper that were most noticeable in the aftertaste. By the end of the session, the mostly spent liquor was still offering subtle earth, orange zest, wood, cream, and malt notes under a bed of minerals. There were also some fleeting impressions of roasted almond, sweet potato, chocolate, camphor, fennel, and black pepper on the finish.
This ended up being spicier, more herbal, and more vegetal than many of the Yunnan black teas I have tried over the course of the year. It was also a much lighter and subtler tea than expected, frequently emphasizing body and texture over its aroma and flavor components. A lot of Yunnan black teas will captivate and throttle your nose and mouth when they are firing on all cylinders, but this tea was more of a tease. It required patience and focus for me to fully appreciate. That being said, I could still see this tea going over well with a number of audiences. It had more than enough depth and complexity to satisfy people like me who like to peck away at teas in order to unearth their secrets, but it was also approachable and easy-drinking enough to satisfy those who are looking to get into Yunnan black teas and/or those who just want a quick pick-me-up into which they do not always have to invest a ton of thought. Overall, I have had better and more immediately appealing Yunnan black teas, but it was impossible for me to slam this one. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a solid black tea that is versatile enough to meet just about any demand.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Camphor, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Fennel, Grass, Green Beans, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal, Wood