This is a review for which I’ve had notes lying around since either May or June. Normally, I’m a huge fan of Feng Qing black teas, but this one I found to be just pretty good. That struck me as odd too, considering that I loved the Spring 2017 Feng Qing Black Gold Pearls that I also purchased from Yunnan Sourcing and that this was probably the same or a very similar tea formed into a different shape.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped approximately 7 grams of formed tea leaves and buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea cones produced aromas of malt, cream, earth, eucalyptus, chocolate, and molasses. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of baked bread, vanilla, butter, sugarcane, and roasted almond. The first infusion introduced aromas of marshmallow, honey, and roasted peanut. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, earth, vanilla, baked bread, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of marshmallow, oats, butter, roasted almond, molasses, sweet potato, and eucalyptus. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of oats, cinnamon, black pepper, camphor, orange zest, and pine. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of oats, butter, roasted almond, sweet potato, and eucalyptus came out in the mouth along with belatedly emerging chocolate notes. I also picked up impressions of orange zest, pine, cinnamon, camphor, black pepper, and minerals as well as hints of honey, roasted peanut, grass, and cooked green beans. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, baked bread, malt, cream, earth, roasted almond, cinnamon, and eucalyptus that were underscored by hints of chocolate, camphor, molasses, black pepper, pine, sweet potato, orange zest, sugarcane, and marshmallow. I also noted hints of horehound in the aftertaste of the two longest infusions.
This was not a bad Feng Qing black tea, but I did find it to be a bit boring compared to some of the others I have tried. In my opinion, the tea liquor was a little too smooth in the mouth, and it lacked variation in texture over the course of a gongfu session. I also found this tea to not vary its intensity much. Honestly, it was little more than a very even-tempered, pleasant black tea that offered few memorable quirks during a lengthy review session. It was basically just there and was only going to do what it was going to do. I could not coax any intrigue out of it. Still, it was a flavorful tea that was easy to drink. One would likely not regret giving it a shot.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla