Hey gang, I’m still playing catch-up with regard to my postings, and in order to bring myself one step closer to getting caught up, I figured I’d take a few minutes out of my working life to share my thoughts on this tea. I finished a sample pouch of it around a week ago and have just been sitting on my session notes since then. I found this to be a very nice Alishan black tea, though it did not display quite the longevity to which I have become accustomed from such teas.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 3 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 5 seconds, 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, cedar, and pine. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of malt and roasted nuts. The first infusion then added a hint of cinnamon to the tea’s bouquet. In the mouth, I noted flavors of honey, cedar, pine, and malt underscored by hints of roasted peanut, butter, and caramel. The subsequent infusions then introduced stronger roasted peanut, butter, and caramel flavors while the tea’s bouquet became spicier, fruitier, nuttier, and maltier. I noted the somewhat belated emergence of cinnamon in the mouth as well as new flavors of nutmeg, minerals, plum, brown toast, brown sugar, roasted almond, cream, and raisin. I even thought I could catch a vague impression of cardamom in several places. The later infusions (those from the 1 minute mark forward) washed out very quickly. It took some work on my part, but I managed to detect notes of minerals, cream, butter, and malt backed by undertones of caramel and raisin.
The only other rolled Alishan black tea to which I could compare this tea was the exceptional Alishan Black Tea from Floating Leaves Tea that I tried last fall. Compared to that tea, this tea was similar, though not quite as complex or long-lived-it faded much more quickly and did not offer the unique floral impressions of the other tea. Still, this was a more or less very good Taiwanese black tea, one that was very much worth trying. Though their expertise more lies with oolongs, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company normally does a more than respectable job sourcing black teas as well. This tea was no exception.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Butter, Caramel, Cardamom, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins