Yay! It’s time for another backlogged review! I recently went through three pouches of Yunnan black teas from the autumn 2016 harvest and this was one of them. Like most of the Yunnan black teas offered by Yunnan Sourcing/Yunnan Sourcing US that I have tried, this one was a keeper. It was quite complex, yet never lost anything in the way of approachability.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cedar, pine, malt, honey, tobacco, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I found aromas of baked bread, brown sugar, and eucalyptus accompanying a strong honey scent. The first infusion introduced sharply amplified scents of pine and cedar as well as a stronger eucalyptus aroma. In the mouth, I noted impressions of malt, pine, cedar, eucalyptus, sweet potato, and brown sugar. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of cream, orange, vanilla, caramel, minerals, and black pepper backed by hints of menthol and smoke. Honey, tobacco, and baked bread notes also appeared in the mouth around this point. The later infusions offered notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, caramel, and sweet potato underscored by herbal, menthol-like touches.
A complex, yet balanced Yunnan assamica, this proved to be a consistently likable, adaptable tea. Even though it mellowed quickly, rendering the later infusions rather predictable after a point, it made for a very enjoyable drinking experience. If you are a fan of traditional Yunnan black teas, you may want to consider giving this one a shot.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cedar, Cream, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Pine, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla