Yes, I am still alive and still capable of writing. I keep having to tell myself that. It seems that I get more pleasure out of reading the tasting notes of others and commenting on them these days than I do writing notes of my own. Anyway, I have been aware that I needed to get back to writing for a few weeks now, but I have honestly just been too lazy to do it. Now that I have spent a good deal of time finishing up some of my remaining 2017 teas, I figured that I could not let my backlog grow any further, so it was time to get some reviews out of the way. This was a tea that I forgot I had, and when I found it in my tea stash, I just had to start on it. It was a very nice, mellow black tea that somehow held up remarkably well in storage.
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 (my new kettle does not allow me to set 194 F as a temperature). 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 emitted aromas of malt, cedar, baked bread, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and black pepper. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, cream, geranium, and butter. The first infusion brought out a slight camphor scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of cream, butter, malt, baked bread, and roasted almond that were chased by hints of roasted peanut, geranium, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions introduced cocoa, smoke, sugarcane, tobacco, roasted walnut, marshmallow, and orange zest aromas as well as very subtle plum scents. Slightly stronger and more immediate roasted peanut and geranium impressions came out in the mouth alongside notes of sugarcane, cocoa, earth, minerals, black pepper, eucalyptus, straw, caramel, orange zest, roasted walnut, tobacco, and marshmallow. I also noted hints of smoke, cedar, camphor, red apple, plum, honey, and ginger. As the tea faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, earth, cream, malt, baked bread, and caramel that were supported by subtler notes of butter, roasted almond, roasted peanut, cocoa, tobacco, and orange zest.
This was an incredibly pleasant, aromatic, and flavorful Yunnan black tea. In truth, I am probably underrating it a bit, but a score in the mid-80s just felt right to me when I was drinking it, and it still feels right to me now. I have had better, stronger, and more challenging Yunnan black teas, but this one was so pleasant and so easy to drink in its maturity that I could not even dream of being disappointed by it. If you are looking to acquire a very good, very likable Yunnan black tea with your next Yunnan Sourcing order, strongly consider seeking out the newest harvest of the Bu Lang Mountain Black Tea from Menghai.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Plums, Red Apple, Smoke, Straw, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Walnut