This was one of my sipdowns from around the middle of last month. It was also the first of three Japanese black teas that I plowed my way through in just under a week. Of the bunch, it was easily the best. This tea had a mild and mellow character as well as a refinement that the other two teas lacked.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of dark chocolate, straw, and pine. After infusion, I detected aromas of cinnamon, cream, malt, raisin, caramel, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of dark chocolate, raisin, straw, hay, pine, malt, cream, butter, umami, oats, cinnamon, peas, baked bread, damp grass, roasted peanut, roasted hazelnut, earth, moss, minerals, and orange zest. There were also hints of cinnamon, caramel, and plum here and there. The finish was very smooth and creamy with a gently invigorating afterglow.
Overall, this was a subtly rich, earthy, nutty, and vegetal black tea. It was easy to tell that it had been produced from a cultivar normally associated with green tea production. I particularly appreciated its lively, textured liquor and its skillful integration of aromas and flavors that had the possibility to clash badly. I wish it had been just a little sweeter and fruitier, but that’s me nitpicking. This was a wonderful black tea and one that I would have no difficulty recommending to open-minded tea drinkers.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grass, Hay, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peas, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Straw, Umami