This was another of the teas I finished back around the start of May. Originating in Hunan Province, this black tea was produced from a cultivar normally used in the production of oolong. Like most of the Chinese black teas offered by Harney & Sons, I found it to be more or less excellent and a great value to boot.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of peach, pine, toast, and honey. After the rinse, I noted stronger peach and honey scents as well as emerging apricot, butter, and roasted almond aromas. There were some hints of malt too. The first infusion brought out aromas of straw and candied orange peel. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of peach, honey, and apricot on the entry that were immediately chased by roasted almond, butter, malt, toast, straw, and candied orange peel notes. There were also surprising hints of rose on the swallow. The subsequent infusions saw rose and vanilla emerge on the nose. Subtle pine notes belatedly emerged in the mouth. New impressions of caramel, cream, minerals, and mango also showed themselves. The last infusions offered soft, lingering mineral, roasted almond, and cream notes that were balanced by even softer impressions of malt and vanilla.
Though this was not the most complex black tea in the world, it was incredibly unique and enjoyable. No component was out of place, as everything worked wonderfully together. I would love to know which cultivar was used to produce this tea. Definitely check this one out if you are looking for a sweeter, fruitier black tea unlike many others on the market.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Caramel, Cream, Honey, Malt, Mango, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Pine, Rose, Straw, Toast, Vanilla