Okay, people. It’s time for my weekly wave of tea reviews. This is one of the golden oldies that I have been meaning to review for some time. I recall this sipdown coming from late August. Unlike a lot of the Yunnan Sourcing teas I had tried up to that point, this one was entirely new to me. I had missed out on all of the previous productions. I’m kind of sorry I did because this ended up being a very respectable offering.

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 followed by 17 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of straw, cedar, malt, honey, baked bread, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, grass, and pine. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted peanut and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, butter, cream, straw, baked bread, pine, and roasted peanut that were balanced by subtler impressions of oats, roasted almond, grass, smoke, pear, honey, and cedar. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of smoke, oats, cream, chocolate, black pepper, orange zest, and green bell pepper. Stronger and more immediately evident impressions of oats, grass, pear, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth alongside notes of cinnamon, red apple, minerals, orange zest, plum, earth, and green bell pepper. Hints of black pepper, chocolate, beeswax, and brown sugar were also present. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, malt, butter, cream, grass, straw, green bell pepper, roasted peanut, pear, roasted almond, and baked bread that were balanced by fleeting hints of beeswax, red apple, honey, orange zest, oats, and cinnamon.

This was a very approachable and likable Yunnan black tea. As anyone familiar with this offering knows, this tea was processed in the Taiwanese style, and it did a good job of approximating the character of many Taiwanese black teas. I could see it being a good stepping stone into the world of Yunnan black tea for Taiwanese tea drinkers. I also could see it being a good option for fans of Taiwanese black tea that are searching for a value offering capable of standing up to both rigorous gongfu preparations and basic daily drinking.

Flavors: Almond, Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Smoke, Straw

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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