Here is yet another review from the backlog. I wrote a preliminary tasting note for this tea way back on October 23rd, but never got around to posting a review here on Steepster. Much like the Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black from Verdant Tea that I tried about a year or so ago, I found this to be a very good, reliable black tea, maybe not the sort of tea I would reach for regularly, but still nice nonetheless.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, toast, cocoa, and malt underscored by some hints of spice. The rinse released new aromas of yeast rolls, roasted nuts, and rock sugar. The first infusion released a clearly defined touch of ginger on the nose. In the mouth, I found notes of honey, cocoa, and toast on the entry that were soon balanced by notes of roasted nuts, malt, and ginger. Additional flavors of rock sugar and yeast roll emerged just prior to the finish. Subsequent infusions predictably brought out stronger yeast roll and rock sugar notes as well as impressions of moss, cinnamon, pine, cedar, minerals, and wet stones. I occasionally noted some tobacco and vanilla impressions too. The later infusions were dominated by lingering notes of minerals, malt, moss, wet stones, and earth balanced by a subtle honey flavor.

I generally like the teas Li Xiangxi offers through Verdant Tea and this one was no exception. Though I have had somewhat better Wuyi black teas, this was still a nice tea. I would have liked to see a little more thickness in the mouth and a little more longevity though. Still, this tea was well worth the purchase. I would have no real issue with recommending it to fans of traditional Chinese black teas.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Earth, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Pine, Roasted Nuts, Sugar, Toast, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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