After the epic letdown that was RIshi’s Osmanthus Silver Needle it is nice to be pleasantly surprised by the the quality of a tea, especially one which is, to me, uncharted territory.

The wet aroma is delicious and pungently earthy. It smells alive and welcoming with notes of wilted florals and virile soil. Everything about this tea is soft and striking. The mouthfeel is thick and coats the tongue with a low buttery “sweetness” that is not typically sweet yet not exactly savory either. Can it be the ever so elusive and ambiguous “umami” quality? Truly a rare species to behold especially in such a seemingly unlikely habitat. The woody malt sits heavily on the palate and a wet wood hui gan fills the throat leaving a lingering dark, nutty flavor in the mouth.

It is lighter, more complex and with a taste more like “tea” than most shu puer though with some overbrewing there can be a similar wo dui or piled fermentation greasy taste. It’s also softer and more pastoral in taste than typical Yunnan red teas. I know I’ve never had a tea from Sichuan before so this one stands out as unique to me.

And check this out: a 200 gram hand-woven bamboo package of this is, wait for it . . . $28.

Read more here: http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2011/03/tibetan-hei-cha-ya-xi-grade.html

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