Alright, since I am determined to plow through two of my review notebooks before the end of the year, I’m back with some more reviews. This was yet another of my late 2020 sipdowns. It was also a tea that made me notice a trend: I tended to be underwhelmed by the wild arbor assamicas Yunnan Sourcing offered in 2018. They just failed to make much of an impact on me. For me, this tea was like the Yi Wu Mountain Wild Arbor Assamica in that I found it to be a likable enough tea and nothing more.
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 18 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 minutes 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of malt, hay, straw, cedar, butter, baked bread, and tobacco. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, camphor, eucalyptus, cannabis, and black pepper emerged. The first infusion added cream and sugarcane aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, tobacco, cedar, camphor, and black pepper that were backed by hints of eucalyptus, grilled lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisin, brown sugar, and sugarcane. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, minerals, earth, grass, and sweet potato to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of grilled lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisin, brown sugar, eucalyptus, and sugarcane appeared in the mouth with notes of minerals, earth, orange zest, roasted peanut, grass, hay, and sweet potato in tow. I also detected hints of maple syrup, kumquat, roasted walnut, straw, oats, and cannabis. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, cedar, camphor, eucalyptus, grilled lemon, grass, cream, and hay that were chased by lingering hints of butter, baked bread, sugarcane, tobacco, black pepper, cinnamon, and roasted peanut.
This was an interesting black tea, but it was also a bit restrained and subtle for my tastes. I tend to prefer bolder, richer Yunnan black teas, and this one was smoother and a little stuffier. It wasn’t bad though. I could see people who are really into comparing and contrasting specific Yunnan terroirs being into an offering of this sort.
Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cannabis, Cedar, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Lemon, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Nutmeg, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Walnut