Wow! I’m apparently the outlier for this one. Almost everyone else who has reviewed this tea has enjoyed it, yet I think I am the only person to assign it a score of 90 or higher. I have been working my way through a pouch of this tea for the last two days and will probably finish it either tonight or tomorrow morning. While Yunnan Sourcing’s Laoshan black teas have not always wowed me, this one has, and I highly doubt my opinion of it will suddenly change. This tea really reminded me of why I fell in love with Laoshan black teas in the first place.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 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 dark chocolate, malt, pine, and raisin. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of roasted peanut, smoke, and red grape aromas. The first infusion then introduced scents of honey and plum. Once in the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, pine, malt, smoke, and dark chocolate that were backed by hints of roasted peanut, cream, butter, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of molasses, orange, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stronger cream and butter notes appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging impressions of raisin and red grape and a few scattered hints of plum. New notes of minerals, orange, toast, roasted walnut, and vanilla also appeared, as did hints of brown sugar, molasses, and roasted barley. By the end of the session, I could still pick up on impressions of minerals, cream, malt, dark chocolate, and vanilla that were underscored by hints of roasted walnut, butter, brown sugar, toast, raisin, and cinnamon.
In my opinion, this was a fantastic example of a Laoshan black tea. It also represented a leap forward in terms of quality from the Spring 2016 version I previously reviewed. This was a smoother, slightly more complex, fuller-bodied, and more consistent tea overall that also displayed slightly more resilience and longevity. This one was a winner, and at this point, I kind of wish I had purchased more since I am on the verge of finishing my pouch.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Toast, Vanilla, Walnut