This was yet another of the Wuyi black teas I reviewed in May and then did not bother to review here until now. I think this was the last of the four black teas from Old Ways Tea that I tried. I recall rushing to try it because I was so smitten with the 2016 Premium Old Tree Black Tea. Unfortunately, I did not find this tea to be quite as good as the 2016 version, but that is not much of a knock considering how great I found that tea to be. All things considered, this was still a very good and very satisfying Wuyi black tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of honey, malt, butter, baked bread, and pine coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. There was something of a green wood presence too. The first infusion then introduced a slight hint of smoke to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted almond, roasted peanut, butter, malt, and baked bread that gave way to impressions of green wood, honey, pine, cream, and vanilla. After the swallow, I noted a subtle smokiness and an unexpected note of cinnamon in the aftertaste. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn a little smokier with cocoa, citrus, and mineral aromas also emerging. Impressions of minerals, cocoa, leather, and orange zest emerged in the mouth alongside stronger impressions of cream and cinnamon. Towards the end of the session, I also managed to pick up some subtle ginger and brown sugar notes. The final infusions offered notes of minerals, baked bread, orange zest, and malt backed by subtle leather and roasted nut notes and a cooling herbal presence on the swallow that was reminiscent of tobacco.
This was an extremely deep and complex black tea with tremendous texture in the mouth. Compared to the 2016 Premium Old Tree Black Tea, this tea did not display quite as sharp or clean of a mineral presence. I also did not find it to be as spicy, complex, or energizing as its forebear. Despite these minor quibbles, this was still a very good Wuyi black tea that only suffered a bit in comparison to a truly exceptional tea from the previous year. Try both this tea and the 2016 version if you get the chance. If you are into Wuyi black teas, I’m willing to bet that you will enjoy them.
Flavors: Almond, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Ginger, Green Wood, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Smoke, Tobacco, Vanilla