This is the final tea from my October-November backlog to get a review here on Steepster, and before I begin the actual review, allow me to state that I have a bone to pick with the way Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company markets this tea. They encourage drinkers to think of this tea as a dark oolong (even describing it as an oolong on the sample pouches they send out to customers), but then readily admit that it is really a black tea. What’s the point? Stop trying to confuse people. If you think calling a black tea a black tea is going to scare off the likely tiny number of oolong diehards who may not otherwise give it a shot, all I can say is you’re trying to market the wrong product to the wrong crowd anyway. And if you’re going to engage in subversive marketing, fully commit. Don’t be like, “Think of this as something we’re telling you it’s not.” This is a black tea, plain and simple. It does not need to be classified as anything else. It should not be classified as anything else. Okay, the rant is over. I got that out of my system.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves emitted aromas of malt, sweet potato, molasses, and menthol. After the rinse, I noted clear aromas of wood, wintergreen, peppermint, and toast. The first proper infusion yielded no new aromas for me. On the palate, I noted flavors of malt, molasses, wintergreen, and peppermint that gave way to hints of roasted nuts on the finish. Subsequent infusions introduced impressions of wildflower honey, brown sugar, caramel, minerals, cream, and tobacco. The sweet potato, toast, and wood notes also finally showed up in the mouth. The later infusions offered mild mineral, wood, malt, caramel, molasses, and menthol notes.
I have a big soft spot for Red Jade teas, and this one was easily one of the best I have ever had. As a matter of fact, this would also have to qualify as one of the best overall Taiwanese black teas I have ever had. It was so complex and lively on the nose and in the mouth and displayed no real astringency or bitterness whatsoever. I would have no issue recommending this tea to anyone looking for a high quality Taiwanese black tea for regular consumption.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cream, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Molasses, Peppermint, Roasted Nuts, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Tobacco, Wood