July 2020 harvest
This tea would be a delight for flavor-focused drinkers, new and seasoned alike. It has all the right malty-but-not-heavy, fruity and baking spice notes, along with a strong florality that melds with those notes so well that it may be imperceptible. While the tea itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor beyond tanginess, the aromatics absolutely coat every surface of the mouth and into nose. That’s where the beauty of this tea lies. I swallow and the vibrant, complex aroma just lingers forever, transforming wildly over the minutes.
I’ve drank this tea both western and gongfu and my experience says western doesn’t do this tea justice. It still has all the notes, however a bit muddled and it must be steeped with more leaf than you’d think based on the aroma of the dry leaf alone. Either method doesn’t seem to amplify the body of the tea, though. It is always medium-bodied. This tea can take boiling water. Wait until it cools for a bit like an Assam black tea to be able to fully taste what it has to offer.
The one thing that keeps me from repurchasing this tea is that I am, without fail, grumpy after drinking it; that or I drink it when I’m unaware that I’m in a foul mood and having a cup of tea brings brings it to light. Either way, I don’t think it complements my constitution. It is a fairly cooling tea, and the feel and flavor profile speak to me as an early fall brew when warm days can still surprise.
I’ve had the Camellia formosensis species processed as an oolong that was not much to my tastes. If this Wild ‘Shan Cha’ is of the same species, I’m inclined to say that black tea processing does the species a great favor.
Flavors: Bark, Black Currant, Blackberry, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Geranium, Ginger, Green Wood, Lemon, Malt, Maple Syrup, Menthol, Mineral, Muscatel, Pine, Plum, Rainforest, Squash, Strawberry, Tangy