Okay, I’m back at it again. This is something of a change of pace for me, as I usually do not manage to post more than once or twice in any given month these days. Is everyone looking forward to Memorial Day weekend? I know I am. Anyway, let’s get back on track. This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. Again, I have no clue when I actually finished what I had of this tea. I found it to be a very good and very unique Chinese black tea.

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 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 produced aromas of cinnamon, baked bread, dark chocolate, tobacco, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, grass, straw, and caramel. The first infusion introduced aromas of pine, apricot, and plum. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented rather delicate notes of dark chocolate, baked bread, brown sugar, black raspberry, and plum that were balanced by hints of pine, grass, straw, raisin, and roasted peanut. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of minerals, black raspberry, mulberry, orange zest, lychee, blueberry, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of pine, grass, straw, raisin, and roasted peanut came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, caramel, earth, roasted almond, mulberry, blueberry, apricot, lychee, orange zest, and lemon zest. There were also some subtle touches of smoke, tobacco, cinnamon, and brown sugar here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and began to emphasize notes of minerals, orange zest, lemon zest, earth, blueberry, and mulberry that were underscored by subtler impressions of plum, roasted almond, lychee, black raspberry, pine, and roasted peanut. There were also very pleasant, cooling impressions of tobacco that lingered at the back of the throat after each swallow.

This was a very unique and complex Chinese black tea that was also very light and drinkable. I normally get a lot of malt aromas and flavors out of black teas, but I didn’t find them in this one. It came off as being all about sweet, fruity aromas and flavors. Though I would not find myself reaching for this tea on a regular basis, I was very impressed by how much it had to offer and how much it stood apart from the overwhelming majority of Chinese black teas I have tried. I could see it going over well with people who are not into malty aromas and flavors or who are looking for a light, sweet tea that can still be taken seriously.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Raspberry, Smoke, Straw, Tobacco

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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