Okay, here is my final review of the day. Since I mentioned the spring 2018 Feng Qing Premium Black Gold Pearls in my previous review, I figured that I should just go ahead and post a review of them. As mentioned previously, I always like these more than the similar Feng Qing flowering black tea cones. That was very much the case with these spring 2018 black gold pearls.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of formed tea in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea pearls emitted aromas of baked bread, sweet potato, malt, cream, chocolate, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of vanilla, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and butter. I noted no new aromas on the first infusion. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, malt, baked bread, butter, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of sugarcane, lemon, sweet potato, roasted peanut, and chocolate. The bulk of the following infusions introduced aromas of caramel, honey, sorghum molasses, toffee, orange zest, lemon, marshmallow, banana, and eucalyptus in addition to a subtle earthy scent. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of sugarcane, lemon, sweet potato, roasted peanut, and chocolate came out in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, vanilla, honey, toffee, caramel, oats, orange zest, roasted chestnut, banana, marshmallow, and plum. I also detected hints of sorghum molasses, earth, and eucalyptus. As the tea faded, the tea liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, cream, roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and orange zest as well as amplified earthy impressions. Each swallow revealed a swell of sugarcane, butter, chocolate, lemon, sorghum molasses, sweet potato, marshmallow, eucalyptus, and roasted chestnut beyond the primary notes that lingered in the mouth.
This tea was like the Feng Qing flowering tea cones, only richer, deeper, smoother, and slightly more complex. There were several very unique aromas and flavors on display in this tea that really played a huge role in separating it from similar offerings. As a matter of fact, I would say that this was like the deluxe or luxury version of the black tea cones. Though both teas struck me as being worthwhile, this was definitely the better, more interesting, and more memorable of the two.
Flavors: Almond, banana, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Chestnut, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Plum, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Toffee, Vanilla