drank Yunnan Tips by Palais des Thes
33 tasting notes

At first when I opened the package and took a whiff, I thought “okay, another unremarkable refill for my dianghong gong fu tin”. I kinda chuckle thinking back to that first impression now.

This tea brews an impressively dark, bold, rich and full bodied liquor that is incredibly smooth and mellow. How smooth? Like a glass of warmed Remy Martin XO (not quite a Louis XIII), half-way through the swallowing process it actually vanishes from your mouth. Really that smooth and zero astringency, to the point where I felt like I was swallowing liquid aromatic air as it washed down the back of the mouth.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have strong flavor or aromas. No grass or straw, Palais des Thes says truffles, but I would characterize it more like cocoa-leather. Absolutely as smooth as can be, this is better than many jinya dianhongs I’ve tried before. This is something I will be restocking for sure.

Here’s the bonus. For a black tea it has incredible patience. The second western-style steeping was just as good, rich, and full bodied as the first, no joke. A third started to even reveal some toasted wood and apple tree bark, but I stopped there because I could feel some astringency appearing in the third infusion. If you like the apple/cider/woody side, I have found some short 45-60 second infusions with a higher leaf-water ratio works well to accentuate those, but I love the rich/dark/smooth brew so I just keep doing it that way.

Flavors: Cedar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Leather, Mushrooms, Tobacco, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Musician, pilot, philanthropist, tea lover. Nothing beats a spiced oolong at 10,000 feet. Except maybe a cuppa dian hong with my feet next to the fireplace. Or some fresh bai hao yin zhen before bedtime. My rating system is pretty much like this:

1-20 : ‘Blech’ cuppa. Didn’t even finish the one I brewed, rest went in trash. That bad, at least for me.

21-40: ‘Meh’ cuppa. Finished it but threw away the rest of the tea or used it for other purposes like baking, gifts for in-laws, or serve to unwanted houseguests. Kinda like Twinnings or Lipton bag tea.

41-60: ‘Standard’ cuppa. Won’t buy any more, but will certainly brew all that I have left. Probably will use it to blend with other teas or as a base, or large quantities of iced tea for parties and such.

61-80: Good cuppa. Now we’re talking. Worth buying more if at the right price, love blending some of these too. Sometimes a few oddballs will find their way into this score just because I liked the fruity flavor or having it as an iced tea. Also my starting score range for new kinds of tea until I develop a good feel for my preferences or learn to better distinguish quality characteristics.

81-99: Awesome cuppa. You’ll probably find this in my pantry pretty regularly, unless it has been discontinued or I’m waiting for my next trip to Asia or Europe to pick up some more. Holds up well to multiple infusions (unless black/herbal), and will typically drink it unadulterated/straight. I’ll gladly pay premium prices and chances are I’ll be ordering and tasting a bunch of other teas this producer/company offers.

100: Cuppa bliss, oh where have you been all my life???! I will burn frequent flier miles and journey to the ends of the earth while paying nearly any price to make sure I have this stocked at all times. Over time as I discover some magical new teas, a few may fall off this list. Try to keep it max 1 per type of tea.

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