Here is yet another of the reviews I have been sitting on since May. I finished what I had of this tea sometime during the first half of the month. I was on a huge Wuyi black tea kick at the time and ended up drinking this and four black teas from Old Ways Tea over the course of like 4 or 5 days. Of the bunch, this was actually my least favorite, though all were quite appealing. To be honest, I kind of expected to like this one the least because I have yet to warm up to the idea of Dancong cultivars being used for black tea production. Since this tea was produced from a Dancong cultivar grown in Wuyishan, I sort of knew that there was at least a possibility that this tea would not do as much for me. In the end, I liked it somewhat more than expected, though I was right about it not quite being my thing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 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, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of lychee, apricot, honey, rose, and baked bread coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I picked up a stronger rose aroma and emerging scents of wood and hibiscus. The first infusion then saw the nose turn a little woodier and hints of cherry emerge. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of baked bread, lychee, apricot, and honey that quickly gave way to rose and wood notes backed by hints of vanilla and malt. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn smoother, fruitier, and more floral before gradually turning woody once again. Stronger notes of vanilla and malt appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging cherry and hibiscus notes. Candied orange, mineral, strawberry, cream, and peach notes emerged as well, and I also picked up hints of caramel in places. The final infusions offered lingering mineral, baked bread, and honey impressions that were balanced by subtle notes of rose, vanilla, lychee, and candied orange.
I know I am the outlier with regard to my rating of this tea, but I was more than a bit taken aback by this tea’s intense fruity sweetness. It seems that the black teas produced from Dancong cultivars always either strike me as being incredibly sweet or oddly herbal, and to be completely honest, they are always a bit much for me either way. Personally, I found this tea to be a bit too sweet in a number of places. It is obvious, however, that I am the only reviewer to this point that has had that particular complaint. While I enjoyed this tea’s complexity and did not find it to be bad by any means, it is doubtful that I would go out of my way to reacquire it. In the end, I can understand why other people might have liked this tea, but it was not really for me.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Hibiscus, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Rose, Strawberry, Vanilla, Wood