This was another of my late 2020 sipdowns and a tea that was wholly new to me at the time. I’m still a little perplexed by the name. If my understanding is correct, a high mountain Wu Yi tea may actually be produced at a lower elevation than some of the flatland teas from Yunnan Province and elsewhere. I guess then that this would qualify as a high mountain tea with regard to where it was produced. Anyway, this was an interesting black tea with a unique profile, but it flattened out and faded very quickly.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of dark chocolate, cinnamon, pine, and baked bread. After the rinse, aromas of malt, roasted peanut, butter, and sweet potato emerged. The first infusion introduced aromas of honey, brown sugar, spinach, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of dark chocolate, grass, malt, baked bread, butter, coffee, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of honey, sweet potato, brown sugar, and spinach. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of coffee, minerals, roasted almond, roasted walnut, and sugarcane. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of brown sugar, honey, and sweet potato emerged in the mouth alongside notes of roasted almond, roasted walnut, minerals, and black cherry. Hints of cinnamon, earth, pine, red grape, orange zest, marshmallow, and sugarcane were also present. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, butter, malt, grass, baked bread, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of roasted peanut, honey, dark chocolate, orange zest, sweet potato, and sugarcane.
As mentioned earlier, this was a unique black tea. Not only were some of its components fairly unique for a Wuyi black tea, but some of the more familiar ones were expressed in ways I would not normally have expected. That novelty factor alone would have made this tea enjoyable enough for me, but fortunately, it also struck me as being very approachable and drinkable. It was not fussy or stuffy in the slightest, and in my time sampling it, I tried multiple other preparation methods with solid, consistent results. Still, this tea was not without its flaws. As previously mentioned it faded very quickly. At times, some of the tea’s more unique aroma and flavor components also subtly clashed with some of the more familiar ones. Overall, this was a decent enough tea. It had its appeal, and it did make me curious about the possibility of trying some other Tu Cha in the future. I feel like I am being a tad hard on it, but a score in the high 60s just feels right to me. I wish I could rate it higher, but I just can’t do it.
Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grapes, Grass, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes