2021 Drunken Peach - Black Tea from Tong Mu Village

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  • “strong osmanthus, sweet potato aromatics in both dry leaf and tea. 1g in 8 oz. mug, boiling, Brita tap, grandpa. All I do is complain about my hate for hongcha here, but I was suckered by the name...” Read full tasting note

From The Steeping Room

Drunken Peach is a special offering from the family of black teas born in and around Tong Mu Village, Fujian Province, China. Often these teas are called “Lapsang Souchong” black teas, but that can be really (really, really) confusing to those of us who are accustomed to Lapsang Souchong being a poorly made, strongly smoked black tea that Winston Churchill liked to drink. You may also now more frequently find this family of black teas from Tong Mu referred to as Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, often with some sort of adjective before the name like fruity, floral, smoky, etc. True Tong Mu black teas all share some similarities, but the processing and the leaf material used can really turn the tea in one direction or another, based on what the tea maker would like to get out of his or her tea.

This particular tea, Drunken Peach, is an outstanding example of a higher end, truly artisanal Tong Mu black. It comes from heirloom plants in pristine Tong Mu village and is made using a very creative technique that combines eastern Chinese black tea production methods with influences from the craft of oolong tea.

The oxidation of this tea was carefully managed to bring out the depth and fruitiness of black tea with some of the extraordinary aromatics one finds in well made oolong. Drunken Peach is particularly well suited to small pot style brewing (gong fu style) to show off its aromatics but is also a really fine tea when made regular teapot style. Either way, the moment it hits your mouth it is clear that you’re in for a treat. It’s a medium bodied tea, fairly orange in the cup, with aromatics of peach and citrus. It’s very smooth, elegant, and easy to drink in copious amounts.

Tong Mu is actually where black tea got its start! It’s really quite amazing when you think about it – black tea is the most popular genre of tea in the western world and it all started in this beautiful, very small village. This village now happens to be a Unesco protected World Heritage Site. We are truly fortunate to be able drink tea from Tong Mu.

2021 Harvest
No agrochemicals were used in the production of this tea.

Ingredients: tea

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1 Tasting Note

187 tasting notes

strong osmanthus, sweet potato aromatics in both dry leaf and tea.
1g in 8 oz. mug, boiling, Brita tap, grandpa. All I do is complain about my hate for hongcha here, but I was suckered by the name as Tong Mu village teas have been more renowned as of late and I’ve been curious as to why. I ordered a pack with my last order from SR. Anyway, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong. I’m taking a break from sheng for a bit, more so out of necessity than desire. My stomach hasn’t been able to handle it lately, even mid-aged, and I’m terrified after reading posts from old puer bloggers who had to take years-long breaks (Hster specifically, I think?) due to drinking too much young tea.

There’s a light floral vegetal aftertaste and lingering floral honeyed aspect in aftertaste in early steeps; nothing overbearing. In the thermos after tasted like the dining hall’s sweet potato and squash mix, which is not a criticism, just an observation. A gentle tea and probably on the pricier side for a hongcha, again probably bearing name in mind. I’m not sure I could distinguish it from other hongcha taste-wise. Not bad, just won’t be something I reach for.

On the notes of peach and citrus in the description, I can sort of understand why. But after the time I tried the osmanthus black from ORT, the osmanthus note really stuck and it’s hard to perceive it as anything else if encountered afterwards. Some oolongs have a floral note bordering on it, but what distinguishes it for me vs. more sweet potato-like note is a soapy floral aspect I find unique to it. And again, that could just be still osmanthus, but lighter. I’m not sure. I don’t love it, but it’s interesting. I would not buy any perfumes with osmanthus notes.

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