This was another of my recent sipdowns. It was also the most recent spring 2017 black tea to be finished by me. At this point, I only have one pouch of spring 2017 black tea left to finish, 100 grams of Yunnan Black Gold that I bought specifically to age. Anyway, this was an excellent Yunnan black tea. Like the others I have tried this month, the extended time in storage did not seem to have affected it much if at all.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of smoke, malt, cedar, pine, and molasses. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut and roasted almond. The first infusion brought out a baked bread aroma as well as a subtle sugarcane scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of smoke, malt, cream, butter, baked bread, roasted almond, cedar, and pine that were chased by subtler notes of molasses, raisin, sugarcane, plum, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cream, butter, raisin, caramel, marshmallow, anise, vanilla, sweet cherry, chocolate, roasted pecan, and orange zest. Notes of minerals, caramel, anise, marshmallow, vanilla, sweet cherry, stewed apricot, chocolate, roasted pecan, and orange zest appeared in the mouth alongside hints of earth, camphor, and black pepper. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, cream, smoke, raisin, caramel, chocolate, and marshmallow that were balanced by hints of camphor, anise, sweet cherry, sugarcane, butter, roasted almond, and vanilla.
This was one of the more interesting Yunnan black teas I have tried. Generally, I expect Yunnan assamicas to be very assertive and robust in the mouth, but this tea was gentler and sweeter. Its age may have had something to do with that, but I think a good deal of it was just inherent. I also appreciated that I could immediately pick out the characteristics imparted by the Jinggu terroir. I have long felt that Jinggu teas have some very unique properties, specifically a pleasant and lively mouthfeel and fresh, earthy, uniquely sweet, and herbal aroma and flavor characteristics, and such properties were on clear display in this tea. Overall, I would recommend this tea or a more recent version of it to people who are established fans of Jinggu teas and/or those who are interested in getting a feel for the characteristics of the Jinggu terroir.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pecan, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Vanilla