Hi, everybody! It’s been a rather long time, hasn’t it? I’ll go ahead and admit that life has taken precedence over reviewing for the last couple of weeks. Work has been a killer for me, and I have had lots of personal stuff to deal with too. Even when I have had free time, I have not been able to force myself to post here. For whatever reason, I have just not been able to focus on writing. I’m still drinking tea like crazy, though, and I have been steadily building up quite a backlog in the space of the past month. This was one of my sipdowns from the first half of last month, and quite frankly, it is still a tea I think about often. I wish I had purchased more of it when I had the opportunity because this was a fantastic black tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 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, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of malt, honey, baked bread, strawberry, blackberry, and red grape. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of sweet potato, roasted peanut, brown sugar, cocoa, plum, and menthol. The first infusion introduced aromas of candied orange, eucalyptus, and black cherry. The menthol scent also grew somewhat stronger. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweet potato, malt, baked bread, cocoa, red grape, candied orange, plum, strawberry, brown sugar, and menthol that were backed by hints of black cherry, blackberry, cream, eucalyptus, and vanilla. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of black currant, blueberry, cream, date, orange zest, vanilla, melon, wood, and marshmallow. Stronger and more immediate cream, black cherry, menthol, and vanilla notes appeared in the mouth along with impressions of honey and roasted peanut. I also noted impressions of minerals, blueberry, marshmallow, wood, black currant, red pear, date, red apple, and orange zest as well as some subtle hints of watermelon. As the tea settled and faded, I was left with impressions of minerals, malt, baked bread, wood, sweet potato, menthol, plum, cream, and orange zest that were underscored by subtle hints of black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, eucalyptus, brown sugar, honey, cocoa, and roasted peanut.
It is very rarely that a Taiwanese black tea disappoints me, but it is also a rare occurrence when one impresses me as much as this tea did. For a tea displaying such incredible depth and complexity, it was neither poorly balanced nor overwhelming. It was also incredibly lacking in astringency, rendering a smooth, silky liquor that was never lacking in approachability. Overall, this was a fantastic Taiwanese black tea. It even reminded me a bit of some of the more consistently hyped Taiwanese black teas to have gained a following on Steepster and elsewhere (Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black and Premium Taiwanese Assam, anyone?) but with one important difference: this tea may have been slightly better than most of them.
Flavors: Black Currant, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Brown Sugar, Candy, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Dates, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Red Apple, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Wood