This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the month. It was also arguably the most impressive of all of the black teas I have finished within the last thirty or so days. The black teas What-Cha sources from Taiwan tend to be impressive, and this one was certainly no exception. Actually, of the comparatively few Red Jade black teas I have tried to this point in my life, this one has ended up being my favorite so far.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 subsequent 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 produced aromas of sweet potato, honey, baked bread, wintergreen, molasses, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of chocolate and red grape alongside even stronger wintergreen scents. The first infusion introduced subtle plum, cream, spinach, and malt aromas alongside even more amplified wintergreen scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweet potato, wintergreen, cream, malt, brown sugar, and baked bread that were chased by hints of honey, red grape, butter, and plum. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of pine, caramel, butter, and roasted almond as well as subtler scents of grass and green olive. Stronger and more immediate plum, red grape, butter, and honey notes came out in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging chocolate and molasses notes and hints of spinach. I also found impressions of minerals, pine, juniper, vanilla, caramel, and roasted almond and fleeting hints of grass, green olive, nutmeg, peach, and nectarine that were mostly limited to the finish and aftertaste. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized sweet potato, malt, caramel, baked bread, and cream notes that were chased by hints of pine, juniper, green olive, spinach, and grass as well as some distant, cooling wintergreen notes.

This was such a great tea. Not only did its liquor display impressive body and texture in the mouth, but it also had tons of depth and complexity and was tremendously fun to drink. A lot of the more complex black teas can be heavy and/or overwhelming, but this one was approachable and consistently fascinating. The menthol-like wintergreen aromas and flavors popped throughout my review session and beautifully framed everything else the tea had to offer. Honestly, I think it would be hard to ask for more from a Red Jade black tea. I loved this one. I’m fairly positive that fans of Red Jade black teas would be impressed by it.

Flavors: Almond, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Grapes, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Olives, Peach, Pine, Plum, Spinach, Stonefruit, Sweet Potatoes, 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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