I bought this from Denong Tea at the SF Tea Fesitval. I was tasting their puerhs and also tasted their black tea, which was an immediate YES PLEASE!! (I also bought the 2019 Shou & Sheng Puerhs)
This is an amazingly well balanced black tea that is completely in my preferred flavor profile. I generally followed DT’s brewing recommendations for Gong Fu brewing; 3-4g for 118 ml at 195-205 deg F (alas no time recommendations).
I used 5grams @150 ml (same ratio)
The dried leaves smell of malt, cocoa, and mild roast. With the leaves warmed, the smell of brownies. The leaves are thin, wiry, and look like the stem & 2 first leaves.
TL;DR – this is an amazing tea. It starts with hints of burnt brown sugar/molasses on the tongue, moving towards a smokey, malty, cocoa flavors; much like a very mild sweet cigar. This has a fair amount of viscosity. A very pleasing astringency is present — drying out the tongue, lips, roof of my mouth — but this is never bitter. The finish is extremely long and addicting; I want more of this tea after finishing each cup. This tea is neither sweet or savory despite my descriptions. It somehow maintains a balance between the two.
1) 20sec – 197 degF. Not bad. I can tell that this will be good but I didn’t brew quite long enough for the flavors to take a foot hold. Should have been 30 seconds.
2) – 40 sec – 197F. The color is a dark orange Amber. The brown sugar/cocoa flavors are coming out counterbalanced by smoke and malty flavors. No bitterness and good “hui gun” astringency!! I think 40 was too long. 30 seconds would be better BUT 4 stars even with the slight over brewed.
3) 45s @ 195F. Still amazing flavor. Color is still dark orange Amber. Leaves are only half furled.
4) – 60s @195F. The flavor profile is changing slightly. It’s starting off smokey and burnt cocoa followed by hints of brown sugar
I won’t go on but it went for a while until I felt the leaves were starting to wash out (about 7 steeps). Then I threw the leaves and did a cold brew of 350 ml overnight. And the resulting cold brew was still pretty damn good. I might just cold brew this tea until the water is clear.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Smoke