This was my first sipdown of the month as I finished a mini-sample of this tea on the very first day of the month. I received the sample as a freebie with a more recent What-Cha order. As those of you who read my reviews are well aware, I am a huge, huge fan of Wuyi black teas. If I have one complaint about this specific style of tea (lapsang souchong/Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong), however, it is that teas of this type can often get a bit astringent. I did not have that complaint with this particular tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, cinnamon, roasted almond, mandarin orange, and peach. After the rinse, I found hints of baked bread, roasted peanut, and straw on the nose. The first infusion introduced floral scents reminiscent of rose and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of mandarin orange, baked bread, honey, roasted almond, and roasted peanut that were underscored by hints of straw. The subsequent infusions saw aromas of cream, lemon, malt, chocolate, brown sugar, and sweet potato emerge. Impressions of rose and violet appeared in the mouth along with subtle hints of cinnamon and peach. New notes of minerals, chocolate, brown sugar, cream, butter, malt, sweet potato, pine, and lemon also emerged. The final few infusions offered lingering mineral, malt, cream, and roasted almond notes that were balanced by hints of lemon, mandarin orange, sweet potato, and brown sugar.

This was an excellent Wuyi black tea, one that should satisfy even the most demanding fans of such teas. As mentioned earlier, I especially appreciated the fact that this tea never turned astringent. If you are looking for a quality unsmoked Wuyi black tea, be sure to check out this one.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Rose, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Violet

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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