I thought I reviewed this one…oh well.
I had this one two years ago, plowing through half of the 75 grams. I saved the other half which has been untouched for two years, and I re-discovered I had it when I inventoried some of my tea.
I delayed reviewing because I had initially mixed feelings on the tea. I fell in love with it the first time around since it has the sweet cocoa flavor I look for with enough citrus, caramel, or sugar sweetness to balance out the incredible dry cocoa/hot chocolate powder and yammy notes, not to mention an incredible aroma like fresh medium roasted coffee, but the remaining sessions tended to yield a more drying tea when I went with Eco-Cha’s 7 grams instructions. It had the same flavors, but it tasted like stale chocolate bars, sesame seeds, and raw sweet potato skins. There were times where the tea bordered on vegetal on the squashy end, other times more sweet. While this tea is far from bitter, it could be a little bit tannic like coffee, which was interesting to taste in a black tea. I finished the half of this tea fast, but was let down by the dryness until I fell in love with it on the last session of it 2019.
I decided to open back up, and it’s still as fresh as it was nearly two years ago. I am going to finish it quick before it dries out too much like the other half did. It retains all the notes as I brewed up between 4-5 grams gong fu, and I brewed it 35, 25, 35, 40, and 55 so far. I changed the water ratio a few times from 4-3.5-3.5-3.0-and finally 2.0 oz to savor the flavor. The experiment actually worked and yielded some nice flavor, adding a little bit of vanilla and cherry hints in the later steeps. I am going to go at it one last time, but I think I’ve spent the tea at it’s height.
Of the Tea Club’s blacks, this one was my favorite because it’s a complex flavor pleaser that I’d rate between an 87-92. I was also more satisfied with this black tea because the club went through a phase of doing nothing but Jin Xuans, Bug Bitten, or GABA oxidized teas that started to taste the same after a while. Some of them were too fruity even for me which is saying something-a lot of them tasted like pluot or papaya with an intense caffeine dose bordering on the effect of some purple teas….which can give me bad headaches. This tea was a lot more easy going and flavorful, and while my main criticisms are the dryness and lack of staying power, I’m relieved that I saved this tea.
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Coffee, Drying, Oats, Peanut, Savory, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Vanilla, Yams