Yay, I’m back on Steepster after a hellacious three days of work. I put in a 10 hour day on Saturday followed by an 8-9 hour day Sunday and then another 10 hour day yesterday. Today is the closest thing I have gotten to an off day in the last week, and I am technically still on the clock now. Anyway, this was one of my most recent sipdowns, as I finished the last of my 50g pouch of this tea Saturday morning. I have always perceived Jingmai black teas to be floral and citric in character, but this one was very nutty, herbal, and spicy. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it struck me as lacking some of the more typical characteristics of the Jingmai terroir.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of roasted walnut, roasted peanut, raisin, earth, tobacco, cinnamon, and cocoa. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of malt, roasted almond, and butter. The first infusion introduced aromas of baked bread and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted walnut, roasted peanut, earth, cooked green beans, tobacco, cream, malt, and baked bread that were balanced by subtler impressions of butter, raisin, honey, roasted almond, and cocoa. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out additional aromas of honey, sugarcane, black pepper, roasted hazelnut, and nutmeg. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of butter, honey, raisin, roasted almond, and cocoa appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of caramel, molasses, sugarcane, minerals, orange zest, roasted hazelnut, red apple, nutmeg, and ginger. I also detected hints of cinnamon, marshmallow, black pepper, vanilla, and lemon zest. As the tea shifted and faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, malt, cream, butter, cooked green beans, orange zest, roasted hazelnut, roasted peanut, and roasted walnut that were chased by hints of honey, raisin, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, baked bread, tobacco, and red apple.
This was a very rich, soothing, gentle black tea with tremendous depth and complexity in the mouth. While I would have liked to see some floral character and more of a citrus presence, this was still a very nice, refined offering overall. Fans of dark, nutty black teas would undoubtedly be thrilled with this tea.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Ginger, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peanut, Raisins, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut