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Yay! It’s time for another backlogged review! I recently went through three pouches of Yunnan black teas from the autumn 2016 harvest and this was one of them. Like most of the Yunnan black teas offered by Yunnan Sourcing/Yunnan Sourcing US that I have tried, this one was a keeper. It was quite complex, yet never lost anything in the way of approachability.

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 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cedar, pine, malt, honey, tobacco, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I found aromas of baked bread, brown sugar, and eucalyptus accompanying a strong honey scent. The first infusion introduced sharply amplified scents of pine and cedar as well as a stronger eucalyptus aroma. In the mouth, I noted impressions of malt, pine, cedar, eucalyptus, sweet potato, and brown sugar. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of cream, orange, vanilla, caramel, minerals, and black pepper backed by hints of menthol and smoke. Honey, tobacco, and baked bread notes also appeared in the mouth around this point. The later infusions offered notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, caramel, and sweet potato underscored by herbal, menthol-like touches.

A complex, yet balanced Yunnan assamica, this proved to be a consistently likable, adaptable tea. Even though it mellowed quickly, rendering the later infusions rather predictable after a point, it made for a very enjoyable drinking experience. If you are a fan of traditional Yunnan black teas, you may want to consider giving this one a shot.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cedar, Cream, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Pine, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Sqt

I’ve worked my way through about 30 different hongcha from YS and this is one of my favourites. It also works surprisingly well steeped western style and gives two nicely balanced infusions.

eastkyteaguy

Sqt, I tried this, the Imperial Gold Needle, and the Bu Lang Mountain Black all in a row. Though all were very good, this was actually my least favorite, and I’m definitely in the minority there. It seems many people found the other two to be hit or miss, especially the latter, but I loved them both. Different strokes I guess.

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Sqt

I’ve worked my way through about 30 different hongcha from YS and this is one of my favourites. It also works surprisingly well steeped western style and gives two nicely balanced infusions.

eastkyteaguy

Sqt, I tried this, the Imperial Gold Needle, and the Bu Lang Mountain Black all in a row. Though all were very good, this was actually my least favorite, and I’m definitely in the minority there. It seems many people found the other two to be hit or miss, especially the latter, but I loved them both. Different strokes I guess.

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

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