Alright, I’m finally back on here. It seems that I have very little motivation to type tea reviews these days. This was one of my sipdowns from the second half of last month. It was a very nice, likable Wuyi black tea, but it did not quite measure up to the spring 2018 Premium AA Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong offered by Yunnan Sourcing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. I set my water temperature at 194 F and did not raise or lower it over the course of my review session. After briefly rinsing the 6 grams loose tea leaves I had set aside for the session, I started things off by steeping them 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 produced aromas of baked bread, malt, pine, cocoa, and smoke. After the rinse, I detected aromas of brown sugar, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and sweet potato. The first infusion introduced a subtle creamy scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented me with notes of cream, malt, baked bread, pine, cocoa, roasted almond, and roasted peanut that were balanced by hints of plum, smoke, pear, orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, and sweet potato. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cinnamon, orange zest, plum, red apple, pear, marshmallow, lemon zest, minerals, and roasted chestnut. Stronger and more immediately noteworthy impressions of plum, pear, smoke, brown sugar, orange zest, and sweet potato appeared in the mouth alongside notes of red apple, earth, minerals, roasted chestnut, and lemon zest. I also detected hints of lychee, marshmallow, tangerine, butter, red grape, leather, and roasted walnut here and there. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor shifted to emphasize notes of minerals, cream, malt, baked bread, roasted peanut, roasted chestnut, lemon zest, and leather that were balanced by subtler impressions of brown sugar, butter, sweet potato, pine, red grape, orange zest, plum, pear, and roasted almond.
This was a nice Wuyi black tea, but as mentioned in the introductory paragraph, it did suffer a bit in comparison to the Premium AA offering. Still, it had a very respectable mix of aromas and flavors and displayed more than admirable longevity in a lengthy and intense drinking session. Had the tea liquor been just a bit smoother and thicker and had some of the flavor components been just a little more deftly integrated, this would have been a great offering. As is, this tea was very good, but it just lacked those little extra somethings that would have pushed it over the top for me.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Grapes, Leather, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut