Okay, gang. Here is the review of my latest sipdown. I’ve had to take a break from drinking tea for the last couple of days due to seasonal allergies rendering me barely able to smell or taste anything, so I have nothing better to do in my spare time than try to free up some space in the backlog. Surprisingly, this was a tea that was totally unfamiliar to me. I have tried a ton of Yunnan Sourcing’s offerings over the course of the past 4+ years, but I had never gotten around to trying a Da Jin Ya prior to trying this one. I knew it was probably going to be radically different from the other Yunnan black teas I had tried, and that turned out to be the case, though naturally, there were some similarities imparted by the terroir and processing. Overall, this was a very interesting, satisfying, and unique black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. I set the water temperature at 194 F and neither raised nor lowered it over the course of my review session. After rinsing the loose tea buds, I started off with a 5 second infusion. This infusion was followed by 19 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, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of cocoa, cream, sugarcane, pine, and smoke. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted cashew, lemon zest, and geranium. The first infusion introduced eucalyptus and orange zest aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, malt, pine, baked bread, roasted almond, and butter that were balanced by hints of geranium, cocoa, orange zest, lemon zest, honey, sugarcane, roasted peanut, and plum. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of juniper, malt, camphor, green bell pepper, grass, black pepper, grapefruit, caramel, and plum. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of cocoa, geranium, plum, orange zest, sugarcane, lemon zest, and roasted peanut appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, roasted cashew, pear, red apple, green bell pepper, camphor, eucalyptus, grass, black pepper, watermelon rind, and caramel. I also detected hints of juniper, apricot, smoke, grapefruit, mulberry, and blackberry lurking around the fringes. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, lemon zest, orange zest, cream, pine, and roasted peanut that were chased by fleeting hints of roasted cashew, butter, sugarcane, red apple, pear, watermelon rind, green bell pepper, camphor, and caramel.

This was something of an odd tea, and certainly not one I would want to have every day, but taking the time to drink it made for a wonderful break from the more typical Yunnan black teas. I also appreciated that it did not get me so amped up that I had difficulty sleeping or sitting still. If you’re looking for an interesting and challenging black tea that is also a lot of fun to drink, definitely consider picking up some Da Jin Ya with your next Yunnan Sourcing order.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Blackberry, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Geranium, Grapefruit, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Melon, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Smoke, Sugarcane

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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