This was another of the teas I finished back around the start of May. Originating in Hunan Province, this black tea was produced from a cultivar normally used in the production of oolong. Like most of the Chinese black teas offered by Harney & Sons, I found it to be more or less excellent and a great value to boot.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of peach, pine, toast, and honey. After the rinse, I noted stronger peach and honey scents as well as emerging apricot, butter, and roasted almond aromas. There were some hints of malt too. The first infusion brought out aromas of straw and candied orange peel. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of peach, honey, and apricot on the entry that were immediately chased by roasted almond, butter, malt, toast, straw, and candied orange peel notes. There were also surprising hints of rose on the swallow. The subsequent infusions saw rose and vanilla emerge on the nose. Subtle pine notes belatedly emerged in the mouth. New impressions of caramel, cream, minerals, and mango also showed themselves. The last infusions offered soft, lingering mineral, roasted almond, and cream notes that were balanced by even softer impressions of malt and vanilla.

Though this was not the most complex black tea in the world, it was incredibly unique and enjoyable. No component was out of place, as everything worked wonderfully together. I would love to know which cultivar was used to produce this tea. Definitely check this one out if you are looking for a sweeter, fruitier black tea unlike many others on the market.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Caramel, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mango, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Pine, Rose, Straw, Toast, Vanilla

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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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