2018 Arbor Red

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Malt, Smoke, Sugarcane, Brown Sugar, Campfire, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Creamy, Dates, Floral, Herbs, Leather, Medicinal, Oak, Plum, Red Fruits, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Vanilla, Ash, Wood, Alcohol, Berries, Biting, Bitter, Citrus, Decayed Wood, Metallic, Pleasantly Sour, Tropical, Umami, Fruity, Honey, Nectar, Stonefruit, Herbaceous
Sold in
Bulk
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 oz / 115 ml

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From Our Community

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14 Tasting Notes View all

  • “People really seem to love this one, so after reading the reviews I eagerly bought a sample, but unfortunately, for the price, I’m not that impressed with it. It’s certainly an interesting tea. You...” Read full tasting note
    70
  • “Certainly one of the most interesting red teas I’ve tasted. It’s soothing and sits so comfortably in my body, even when drank on an empty stomach in the morning. Thick and sweet with deeply...” Read full tasting note
  • “Fascinating. Resting did the trick. I would have sworn it is a completely different tea. It now tastes kind of like honey w/ the backbone you would expect from a fine single malt but more delicate....” Read full tasting note
  • “This is an interesting and original tea. First thing you notice is it’s smokiness, but when brewed properly more complexity and nuances can be extracted. It has a thick body for a soup that is on...” Read full tasting note
    78

From white2tea

Old arbor large leaf varietal tea that is usually destined to be made in raw Puer, picked and processed into dianhong style tea with sun drying. We also have a white tea version of the same material.

Arbor red is has an herbaceous fragrance and flavors that often border on medicinal. Sweetness underlies the complex flavors and heavy body of this tea. This is an enduring and heavy black tea best suited for a longer, gongfu style tea session.

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14 Tasting Notes

70
9 tasting notes

People really seem to love this one, so after reading the reviews I eagerly bought a sample, but unfortunately, for the price, I’m not that impressed with it.

It’s certainly an interesting tea. You can surprisingly clearly taste the pu-erh origins, in addition to the more traditional flavors of a chinese black.
The young sheng-like bitterness (and the tiniest bit of sour) provides an interesting complementary bottom layer to malt and sweet sugarcane flavors. Smoke is immediately noticeable but not overwhelming. In the later steeps of a gongfu session suddenly a hint of blueberries appeared, which was a nice surprise. Astringency stays very low throughout, making it a very comfortable drink. The leaves last a long time: I did 10 steeps in a gaiwan and left it overnight in a lidded mug (which turned out excellent), and I think I could’ve gotten even more out of them.
I didn’t find the taste to be particularly complex though. Everything’s relatively upfront. It does very succesfully combine flavors from both raw pu-erh and black tea, but mostly the standard ones from either category. Nothing that would make either stand out. I’m missing some higher notes.

Another tea this one reminded me of is WuyiOrigin’s 2007 aged lapsang souchong. The very mellowed pine smoke there functions in a similar way as the pu-erh material does here, providing a deep bitter, sour, earthy bottom layer and a hint of smoke. Fans of this tea might want to give that one a try as well.

Arbor Red’s a good tea, no doubt. It’s original, very relaxing, and it has the balance of a premium tea, but you’re also paying a bit extra for the novelty.
I just wish it was a little bit more somehow. I was ready to get blown away, but my socks have remained firmly on my feet.

Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Sugarcane

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 65 ML
Nattie

This sounds super interesting! It’s a shame it didn’t live up to the idea.

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1006 tasting notes

Certainly one of the most interesting red teas I’ve tasted. It’s soothing and sits so comfortably in my body, even when drank on an empty stomach in the morning. Thick and sweet with deeply vibrant woody-tobacco-sweet medicine-red fruit complexity. The 8g sample from Togo steeped gongfu over the course of 2 days. Check out the other reviews here and around the web. Well worth a sample if not a whole cake. Initial thought is 97 to 100 — exceptional.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Campfire, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Creamy, Dates, Floral, Herbs, Leather, Medicinal, Oak, Plum, Red Fruits, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 6 OZ / 190 ML

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121 tasting notes

Fascinating. Resting did the trick. I would have sworn it is a completely different tea. It now tastes kind of like honey w/ the backbone you would expect from a fine single malt but more delicate. Very interesting. I now see why it became so well regarded. My guess is that this one is more sensitive to travel than most teas so if you tasted it before resting as I did, do give it another chance. I also did a thorough deep clean of my teaware earlier today. Maybe that also contributed to making sure the strengths of Arbor Red shone through this time. A stately energy swirls around playfully in your mouth somehow long after you swallow.

This was a generous 3g in

Preparation
3 g 2 OZ / 55 ML

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78
15 tasting notes

This is an interesting and original tea. First thing you notice is it’s smokiness, but when brewed properly more complexity and nuances can be extracted. It has a thick body for a soup that is on the clear side and doesn’t suggest that at a first glance.

However, at $80 a 200g cake, it deserves some tougher scrutiny as it’s somewhat pricey. It’s not “better”, well rounded, balanced or intense than some other cheaper teas, basically you’re paying for it’s originality, an unusual palette of flavours.

I like it a lot. I’m not sure if I’d buy it again (at this price).

Flavors: Ash, Oak, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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18 tasting notes

I did a horrible moan of pleasure when I put the first steep in my mouth.

It’s good to have one or two teas that do that for you. The balance is utterly perfect — I was expecting it to be a tannin river, but it lubricates the mouth with so much bourbon, peat, smoke, and sugar. It’s very much a gushu black tea with all that promises. I was hoping I wouldn’t, but now I need a cake of this.

Elements of whiskey usually found in yunnan black, with a touch of restraint I identify in sun dried versions — like a splash of cold water in the drink. Obscenely thick both in the mouth and visibly while pouring it around. The peat taste contributes to the sensation. I agree that there’s a suggestion of medicinal that rounds the flavor further. Very lasting taste that perhaps couldn’t be called an aftertaste so much as a heavyweight finish. The brown sugar appears after swallowing, and so does the rainwatery, puddle-immersed black tea smell. My brain is trying to think of ways to turn the knob further — hotter, longer, more leaf. I really am tasting all elements of the tea as much as a minute after I’ve had it.

Started out with a 30s steep, no rinse, and continued with 25-30sec steeps. The taste is consistent along the beginning and middle period. If oversteeped, it becomes more bitter than astringent. It certainly has family resemblance to other dian hongs, but this much power in the same amount of leaf would be hard to reproduce.

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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96
655 tasting notes

Many other sun-dried black teas seem to develop medicinal and leathery notes as they age. This one clearly had those from the get go, and now it seems to be moving in the fruity direction. It has retained the fruity notes from before, such as the citrus and tropical fruits, but now we also get cherry and nectarines. Overall, the tea hasn’t lost its edge, it is just sweeter all across the board. The honey sweetness becomes especially apparent in the aftertaste. In some sense, it tastes a bit like a lighter fermented and aged ripe pu’er in relative terms now, although still very much a black tea of course. In any case it is still one of the favourite black teas of mine without a doubt.

Flavors: Alcohol, Cherry, Citrus, Creamy, Fruity, Honey, Nectar, Oak, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruit, Sweet, Thick, Tropical

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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90
12 tasting notes

Delicious, thick and smoky, very smoky. I enjoyed it very much, and it has that uplifting and at the same time calming effect that I only get from blacks. It´s such a different experience for me as I am a mostly Pu erh drinker. Love it and it won´t last long!! cheers!!

Flavors: Fruity, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec 3 g

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84
69 tasting notes

I haven’t had many black teas so far, so here’s me working on that. This is an interesting black tea. The first thing that I noticed sniffing at the wet leaf was some savoury smokiness which came to me totally unexpected. It was almost barbecue-ish. That toned down quickly and by the third infusion there was still smokiness but no longer so meaty and savoury. The other dominant notes were tobacco and herbs – of the medicinal type, not those you use in the kitchen. It reminded me of those herbal medicine shops, where you can’t really pick out any one herb but it’s all mingled in a single powerful redolence. All this was backed by a thick body, slightly malty, with some underlying sweetness. In later steeps some fruitiness was present as well. The liquor was a beautiful amber color and teeming with tiny hairs when seen against the bright window. The empty cha hai had a strikingly strong sweet aroma reminiscent of herbal honey. This tea had a very gentle uplifting effect even though it was a long session.

Flavors: Fruity, Herbaceous, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
derk

Ohhh, this sounds excellent. Thanks for sharing.

Hris

My pleasure :) I can’t wait to try its white counterpart.

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98
318 tasting notes

“I’m not dead yet!” -me, not having posted on Steepster in the past three months

I find myself drinking a lot of Yunnan blacks lately, lots of pu and other things as well, but I think i’m probably drinking more black than anything else at the moment. I ordered a sample of this one from W2T, kind of secretly hoping that I wouldn’t like it too much since it’s a kind of pricey for Yunnan black. Unfortunately it’s excellent! Had to order a cake of this one as well as Censers.

It’s moderately bold and malty, has a fairly thick body, and tastes and aromas of good tobacco, dry herbs, leather, and sandalwood incense. A lot of complexity, holds up to a lot of infusions, and doesn’t get bitter easily. If I could “customize” or describe my “ideal” Yunnan black, this would pretty much be it!

My high view of this tea may in part because I’m partial to of the kind of flavor notes found in this tea, and it might not be for everyone, but I would say that it’s objectively a very high quality black. I’d strongly recommend it to those who like black teas, but also to fans of aged sheng and cigar/tobacco aficionados.

Flavors: Herbs, Leather, Malt, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
derk

Ahoy!

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86
11408 tasting notes

Made up as a larger Western style pot, since I missed the little bit of info in the tea’s description that recommends it Gong Fu and I usually don’t drink my W2T blacks that way so Gong Fu wasn’t my default. I do still have enough of my sample left to still drink it Gong Fu though, and also do a direct comparison between this and the white version…

I thought this was a really, really intense tasting black tea and looking at W2T’s description I think medicinal and herbaceous are really on the nose descriptors for the flavour. I’d also call it quite smokey though; in fact the smoke notes were the very first thing in the blend that popped out to me. Other than that, strong notes of oak wood and mahogany, some cumin, a tiny bit of malt and a tinier bit of molasses, and a borderline meaty/broth like element. I mean, it really is a very thick, rich/dense and more savory leaning type of profile. However, there’s a hint of sweetness in the undertones and very intriguingly that sweetness didn’t read as a note that I typically associate with sweeter black teas (honey, caramel, red fruits, jammyness, or stone fruit…) but as something more, well, tropical!? It took a while, about half the pot, to put a finger on it but I finally did after pulling out a tasting wheel to help pinpoint it. So what was I tasting in between all the savory, umami notes!?

Banana. The answer is banana.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this varietal and found it to be a great but very intense learning opportunity. I am honestly SO excited to compare it with the white version and see if I get anything even remotely similar to what I experienced with this tea.

Togo

Sounds interesting, now I wish I added both the white vesion and this one in my recent W2T order :(
I only got the other one.

Togo

Sounds interesting, now I wish I added both the white vesion and this one in my recent W2T order :(
I only got the other one.

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