I’m dipping a little further into the backlog than I have lately with this one, as I finished my sample pouch of this tea somewhere between early and mid-November. It seems that I have more unposted reviews from last month and the first week of this month than I realized. With the semester over I can now get cracking on clearing out the backlog that has accumulated over the past month and a half, so I should hopefully have things more or less caught up by the end of the year. Anyway, this was an excellent Dian Hong, and that should not come as much of a surprise to those familiar with Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s offerings. Despite their primary focus being on Taiwanese oolongs, they do have a history of sourcing quality black teas and oolongs from Yunnan Province.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of raisin, prune, cedar, tobacco, malt, and honey. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, cocoa, cream, and butter accompanying a stronger malt scent. The first infusion introduced scents of roasted peanut and baked bread. Once in the mouth, the tea liquor revealed notes of malt, raisin, prune, cedar, tobacco, and baked bread that were balanced by pleasant honey undertones. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of cinnamon, cocoa, orange zest, black pepper, caramel, vanilla, and eucalyptus. Strong butter and cream impressions as well as subtler notes of roasted almond and roasted peanut emerged in the mouth alongside new impressions of minerals, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, black pepper, eucalyptus, cocoa, and brown sugar. At this point, I should note, however, that as the tea gradually and gracefully faded, the liquor settled into a groove where it consistently offered mineral, eucalyptus, cream, malt, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and baked bread notes that were accented by hints of honey, cinnamon, cedar, and black pepper.

This was one of those teas that I could not help but rate highly because there was nothing off about it. In my opinion, it offered everything that one would expect of a great Dian Hong. There was nothing strange or lacking, nothing out of place. This was just an expertly crafted tea that produced a wonderful drinking experience. I have no problem with recommending this one highly to fans of Dian Hong or anyone just looking for a quality black tea.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Tobacco, Vanilla

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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