I have four Rizhao blacks in my cupboard right now and each of them are quite different. One tastes almost exactly like hot chocolate, another of caramel, another of light smoke honey and cocoa and then there is this one. This one is the most robust of them so far and most similar to the Laoshan blacks I’ve tried, but it is unique in it’s own right. It also delivers a pretty potent dose of caffeine, which is currently buzzing through out my body.

It brewed to a red orange amber colour. The first steeps smelled of roasted grain, honey, cocoa, mash from making malt, plum, cinnamon and a lemon note.

At 70s it tasted of a lemon plum top note, opening to cocoa, honey,caramel and cinnamon flavours. As it cools malt becomes more apparent, and exhibited some tones you can get from a honeyed ale. It is smooth and slightly buttery with a reference to cream, yet has a brisk feeling from a good dose of caffeine. The aftertaste has good cocoa with light grain/ Ovaltine notes, and is slightly spicy on the and peppery on the tongue.

Subsequent steeps ( 2, 2.5, 3.5m) have exhibited similar tones along with the introduction of a light vanilla into the mix. As it cools the tea becomes very sweet with the honey notes this tea contains becoming very apparent. I think I’ll be nursing this tea for a few more steeps at least!

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Ontario, Canada

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