This is my most recent sipdown to this point as I finished what I had of this tea last night. I had been meaning to get around to this one for some time, but for whatever reason, I put off drinking it until this week. Anyone who reads my reviews knows that Yunnan black tea is one of my things; indeed, I drink Yunnan black teas pretty frequently and also tend to be pretty picky about them. This one I found to be a keeper.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 subsequent 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 buds produced aromas of baked bread, malt, sweet potato, and chocolate. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, sugarcane, eucalyptus, and cinnamon. The first infusion then introduced aromas of walnut, black pepper, and hay. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, malt, cream, chocolate, sugarcane, walnut, eucalyptus, roasted almond, and hay that were balanced by hints of black pepper, butter, sweet potato, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of apple, minerals, clove, wheat toast, moss, green bell pepper, cedar, and leather. Stronger and more immediately detectable butter, sweet potato, black pepper, and cinnamon notes came out in the mouth alongside notes of caramel, moss, apple, minerals, grass, leather, cedar, earth, orange zest, green bell pepper, and wheat toast. I also detected subtle hints of clove and roasted peanut. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, earth, malt, wheat toast, moss, grass, and baked bread that were chased by hints of roasted almond, cream, sugarcane, black pepper, hay, and eucalyptus.
I think what I appreciated so much about this tea was that its liquor was so balanced and smooth. Sometimes I find that Yunnan black teas can be overwhelmingly malty and/or treacly, but that was not the case with this tea. All of its components worked together well, making for a thoroughly pleasant drinking experience. In the end, this would definitely be a tea for fans of Yunnan black teas to check out.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Black Pepper, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Peanut, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Walnut, Wheat