This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. As a matter of fact, I am pretty certain that I finished and reviewed this tea immediately after the China Fujian Non-Smoky Lapsang Souchong, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, I found this to be an excellent Taiwanese black tea. To be honest, I am rarely if ever truly disappointed with this type of tea, but this one still struck me as being a great offering.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 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, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of honey, baked bread, sweet potato, cinnamon, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, cream, and butter. The first infusion introduced aromas of candied orange, raspberry, geranium, and black grape. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of candied orange, butter, cream, baked bread, and roasted peanut that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, blackberry, raspberry, sweet potato, Asian pear, blueberry, green wood, and plum. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of Asian pear, caramel, green wood, menthol, and plum. Notes of honey and black grape appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, blackberry, sweet potato, Asian pear, green wood, and plum. I also detected notes of minerals, caramel, malt, lemon zest, and menthol as well as hints of earth, cocoa, cinnamon, geranium, strawberry, and nutmeg. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, candied orange, plum, black grape, green wood, butter, and lemon zest that were chased by hints of caramel, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, Asian pear, cocoa, blackberry and earth, as well as a slight touch of menthol after the swallow.
This was a very complex yet approachable Taiwanese black tea. The tea liquor produced great body and texture in the mouth. Throughout my lengthy gongfu session, it also remained more or less perfectly balanced. While I do wish that some of the fruitier aromas and flavors had been a little clearer and more assertive in places, that is a fairly minor complaint as this was a fantastic offering overall.
Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Candy, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Green Wood, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Peanut, Pear, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes