As I started getting my notes together to write this review, it struck me that I could not even remotely recall when I finished what I had of this tea. It had to have been sometime in late July or around the start of the month. Though I can’t quite place my sipdown of this tea, I do recall being extremely impressed by it as well as a little shocked that I had not seen this tea receive more hype online. Everyone knows that I tend to be a huge Feng Qing tea fanboy, but honestly, this struck me as being one of the very best Feng Qing black teas I have ever tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 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, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry buds emitted aromas of sweet potato, baked bread, malt, cream, cinnamon, cocoa, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, marshmallow, banana, and pine. The first infusion brought out aromas of eucalyptus, black pepper, orange zest, and camphor. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweet potato, malt, cream, baked bread, sugarcane, eucalyptus, roasted almond, black pepper, and orange zest that were chased by hints of butter, cocoa, cinnamon, banana, pine, red apple, anise, and menthol. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of clove, anise, cedar, red apple, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of butter, red apple, cinnamon, and pine appeared in the mouth alongside hints of marshmallow and roasted peanut and impressions of camphor. New notes of minerals, clove, honey, caramel, lemon zest, cedar, peach, apricot, plum, and roasted walnut were also detectable, and I even was able to pick up some hints of red grape here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, baked bread, malt, cream, orange zest, lemon zest, sugarcane, and roasted almond that were balanced by belatedly emerging earthy notes and hints of black pepper, eucalyptus, camphor, cocoa, roasted peanut, menthol, and red grape.
This was a complex and challenging tea that was simultaneously lively and delightfully playful, but that being said, now that I think about it, I suppose I can see why this tea was not more heralded by the community. There was a whole lot going on with it, and it was the sort of tea you really had to work with to fully coax out its charms. Personally, I didn’t mind the extra effort and attention it required, but I can see why some people may not have enjoyed it as much as I did. For me, this tea was well worth the effort as its complexity, depth, and captivating quirks reminded me of why I fell in love with Feng Qing black teas in the first place.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Menthol, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut