High Mountain Red Ai Lao Mountain Black Tea * Spring 2017

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea Leaves
Black Currant, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Coriander Seed, Marzipan, Rose, Rosehips, Sour, Spicy, Wood
Sold in
Bulk, Loose Leaf
Not available
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Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 oz / 100 ml

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From Yunnan Sourcing

High mountain tea grow at 2000 meters on Ai Lao Shan in Zhenyuan area of Simao. Picked and processed only from the first flush of spring this black tea is lightly oxidized and processed similiar to Taiwanese black tea or Wu Yi Rock tea. There is a still a greenish tinge left to the leaves! The brewed tea is rich and thick with hints of dried Longan fruit with a protracted mouth feeling!

The tea is grown at almost 2000 meters making it one of the highest black teas we offer. Mr. Guo was born and raised in central Taiwan and his father had a black tea factory there. Mr Guo, traveled to Thailand and eventually decided on Yunnan. He was always a big Pu-erh tea fan and decided to spend time learning about Ai Lao area pu-erh since it’s one of the remotest and untouched places in all Yunnan. He met many local pu-erh growers and worked with one in particular (Mr. Feng) to introduce a Taiwanese style processing which marries black tea and oolong in a sweet and fruity style!

March 2017 harvest!

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7 Tasting Notes

4194 tasting notes

This is a tasting note two-fer as I wanted to try this and the 2014 harvest on different days but steeped exactly the same. I even steeped them in a tea bag instead of the infusers, in case the infusers are changing things. I bought new pouches of the 2014 and 2017 in the same order. I could swear the 2014 and 2017 look (in both the leaves and light brown brew color result) and taste exactly the same (almost… like they are the same tea with different labels?) The leaves are very long and wiry with hints of gold. The steeps are so light in color. The flavor is fairly light too. Hints of honey and whatever flavor qualities that Laoshan black has, but much lighter. This tea is too light for me. If a tea is this light, it should certainly be much more complex than this.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

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226 tasting notes

This is a very subtle tea. And usually I dislike the understated teas that you have to give your full undivided and focused attention to pick up specific variation in fragrance and taste (many greens and whites fall into that category for me). But this tea is very enjoyable in all its subtlety. The leaves have a malty and flowery sweet aroma and the taste is mineral, malty and sweet. It also has a wonderful and long-lasting aftertaste that comes kind of suddenly and has a lot of different components that I totally do not want to analyze.

What I like about this tea the most that it is very comforting, and “homey”. You seep it and feel instantly cheered up and happy – without any need to deconstruct and analyze. In short, I liked it a lot. Oh, and it is very forgiving with water temperature and steeping times – no need for precision.

Flavors: Black Currant, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Mineral

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82 tasting notes

Every year I enjoy this delicious tea so I make sure not to run out.

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167 tasting notes

Starts off with some pretty bold nut and caramel flavors. There is also some substantial smoky/slightly over caramel, which is very tasty and not at all off-putting.

The best part of the tea is a complex fruity aftertaste, which in the early infusions is reminiscent of the aftertaste you get with some green oolongs. That dies off fairly quickly though, after the 3rd infusion or so.

Another interesting part is a substantial minerality, which I totally dig and found to be one of the best parts of the whole tea. Overall, if you are a Wu Yi oolong fan, you will likely appreciate the dark caramel notes and mineral flavors of this black tea.


Dry leaf – primary notes of peanut and dark caramel. Notes of smoke, stewed red fruit, sassafras.

Smell – caramel, nut, caramel that is slightly over

Taste – arrival of nut, dark caramel, smoke and over caramel. Aftertaste is complex – dark caramel, red current, pineapple upside-down cake (!), yeast roll. Substantial minerality throughout.


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963 tasting notes

Smell is very reminiscent of cooked tomatoes (when making ketchup), marzipan, coriander seeds and rose.

The tea is mouth-watering with silky texture and has a decently strong cha qi.

Taste is complex, but fairly subtle and balanced. It doesn’t hit you with any particular flavour. On top of the notes mentioned above, I can taste some rose hips, especially in later steeps when the tea becomes a bit more sour. Even the Vermilion colour of the liquor reminds a bit of rose hip tisane.

Flavors: Coriander Seed, Marzipan, Rose, Rosehips, Sour, Spicy

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2 tasting notes

silky, not irritating, slightly astringent (throat/cheeks), slightly calming
marzipan in wet leave

Flavors: Black Currant, Rose, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C

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87 tasting notes

Always appreciate the savoury qualities of these teas.

The 2017 seems slightly less intense than in previous years.

Slight malty nose filled out with marzipan, roses and earth. Palate is still light with coriander seed slight bitterness but low astringency. marzipan comes through again on the finish.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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