This was one of my sipdowns from very early in the year. It was also something of a novelty for me: a regular offering among Yunnan Sourcing’s Yunnan black teas that I had never previously tried. Why was that? This tea was always sold out whenever I previously set my mind on purchasing some. I wasn’t avoiding it. I just couldn’t procure any of it due to lack of availability. What did I do after waiting two years to get my hands on some of this tea? I put off trying it and then forgot about it. Organized and focused are two things I most certainly am not. I finally rediscovered my pouch of this tea in January and decided to try it then. Though it took me some time to get around to giving this tea a chance, I was ultimately glad I did. This was a very nice Yunnan black tea, and it had lost very little in storage.
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 18 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, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of tobacco, malt, cedar, smoke, pine, and eucalyptus that were underscored by a subtle cocoa scent. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of baked bread, stewed tomato, geranium, green olive, and camphor. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted peanut and roasted chestnut. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, geranium, pine, and roasted chestnut that were backed by hints of caramel, honey, anise, tobacco, clove, pear, stewed tomato, and eucalyptus. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of clove, black pepper, red apple, roasted almond, plum, orange zest, and sweet potato to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of caramel, clove, pear, stewed tomato, tobacco, and eucalyptus emerged in the mouth along with notes of minerals, red apple, earth, roasted peanut, roasted almond, cedar, leather, orange zest, plum, camphor, lemon zest, and sweet potato. Hints of black pepper, smoke, cocoa, green olive, cinnamon, and molasses were present as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, camphor, and tobacco that were chased by an impressive swell of caramel, lemon zest, cedar, earth, pine, roasted peanut, red apple, clove, black pepper, and eucalyptus hints.
This was a surprisingly deep, complex, richly textured, weighty, durable, and vibrant Yunnan black tea. After taking the opportunity to try it, I could see why it is one of Yunnan Sourcing’s most acclaimed offerings from year to year. A true connoisseur’s tea, this would make a wonderful option for black tea drinkers looking for a challenge or someone looking for a special occasion tea suitable for aging.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Honey, Leather, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Olives, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vegetal