After having no energy and motivation for the better part of three days, I decided to finally get off my butt and get a few more backlogged reviews posted. I finished a pouch of this tea back around the middle of August. I found it to be a highly impressive Yunnan black tea, and that shocked me too, considering that I am not normally a fan of the teas Verdant sources from the Zhenyuan Dongsa Farmers Cooperative.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cedar, cinnamon, honey, malt, raisin, and prune. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of cream and roasted almond accompanied by a mild sweet potato scent. The first infusion saw the nose turn floral and a bit citrusy. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of roasted almond, cedar, cream, malt, and raisin that were accompanied by hints of honey, sweet potato, prune, and cinnamon. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of brown sugar, orange zest, orange blossom, and menthol. New impressions of minerals, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange blossom appeared in the mouth alongside stronger honey and sweet potato notes and belatedly emerging hints of prune. I also noted subtle impressions of cocoa, date, and juniper. Eucalyptus and menthol notes made themselves known on the finish and lingered in the mouth after each swallow. The final few infusions emphasized lingering mineral, malt, and cream impressions that were accented by hints of brown sugar, date, raisin, and honey as well as even subtler touches of orange zest, eucalyptus, and juniper on each swallow.

This was an interesting and incredibly satisfying Yunnan black tea. Regardless of whether or not one trusts the folks at Verdant Tea, they do usually manage to source some very good Yunnan black teas, and this one was yet another strong offering. If you are not already a fan of teas like this, then I doubt this one will convert you, but if you are an established Yunnan black tea lover, then give this one a shot. I doubt it will disappoint.

Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dates, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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