95

This was one of my sipdowns from July. I think I’ve only got three or four more teas from that month to post once I get this review up for the world to see. To this point, this is my favorite of the 2018 Old Ways Tea black teas I have tried. It was a very sweet, fruity black tea, and even though such teas are not often my favorites, I found this one to be exceptional.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 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 tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, cream, butter, strawberry, blueberry, and tangerine. After the rinse, new aromas of roasted almond, nectarine, and blackberry emerged. The first infusion brought out aromas of pear, plum, roasted peanut, and malt. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted almond, malt, strawberry, nectarine, plum, roasted peanut, cream, and tangerine that were balanced by hints of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, butter, peach, pear, and guava. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, wood, straw, vanilla, and guava as well as a subtler scent of sweet potato. Slightly stronger and more immediate notes of blueberry, butter, guava, black cherry, pear, and peach appeared as did impressions of roasted peanut and baked bread. I detected new notes of minerals, orange zest, sweet potato, wood, and straw that were accompanied by hints of pineapple and vanilla. There was also an herbal, slightly cooling quality on each swallow that I could never manage to place. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, wood, malt, baked bread, and roasted almond notes that were balanced by peach, plum, pear, strawberry, orange zest, blackberry, tangerine, and black cherry hints.

This was an amazingly aromatic and flavorful Wuyi black tea with a ton to offer both casual and experienced drinkers. Despite its fruity sweetness, the tea liquor never came off as syrupy in the mouth, instead maintaining a strong, firm texture throughout my drinking session. There was also just enough balance provided by the tea’s other characteristics to keep the fruit aromas and flavors from being overwhelming and throwing everything out of whack. Fans of Wuyi black teas would undoubtedly enjoy this offering, but I think black tea fans who are used to sweeter teas and looking for a good entry into the world of Wuyi black tea would also be well served to check out this tea or one like it.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Guava, Herbaceous, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Stonefruits, Straw, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 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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KY

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