I picked up this sample a few years ago in my “try all the teas” phase. The leaves are somewhat broken, and there’s just enough for a single gongfu session. I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the first steep, I get notes of honey, grapes, malt, flowers, cocoa, and tannens. I don’t know why, but some Chinese blacks make me think of a much better version of your standard English Breakfast. The tea loses the floral and grape notes by the fourth steep, becoming more malty, metallic, and astringent. The honey continues throughout the session, which makes it more enjoyable. Still, the first four or five steeps are the best.

Although this tea isn’t bad, I’m not in a hurry to get more. Compared to other, admittedly more expensive, Guangdong black teas I’ve had, this is just okay. I think I like black teas with distinctive floral, fruity, or chocolate flavours, and this one doesn’t tick enough of those boxes consistently.

Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Floral, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Metallic, Tannic

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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