This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the month. I had always heard that higher end Yunnan black teas could hold up well in storage, and so far, I have found this to be the case. This tea, in particular, came out swinging. It was so lively and strong that it did not seem to have lost a step.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, baked bread, honey, sugarcane, sweet potato, and molasses. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of camphor, cream, pine, butter, cinnamon, roasted almond, eucalyptus, and black pepper. The first infusion brought out scents of earth and straw alongside a subtle grassiness. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, roasted almond, sweet potato, and eucalyptus that were balanced by hints of honey, sugarcane, earth, camphor, black pepper, grass, and cooked green beans. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of marshmallow, juniper, cocoa, lemon, vanilla, and plum. Stronger and more immediate notes of camphor, black pepper, earth, grass, sugarcane, and cooked green beans appeared in the mouth. I also picked up impressions of minerals, juniper, caramel, cocoa, vanilla, lemon, birch bark, marshmallow, celery, pine, orange zest, molasses, and cinnamon. Subtler notes of anise, plum, and coriander were detected as well. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized mineral, earth, baked bread, malt, cream, butter, roasted almond, grass, and marshmallow notes that were supported by subtler impressions of sugarcane, caramel, lemon, cooked green beans, cocoa, and orange zest.
This was an extremely complex and challenging Yunnan black tea. The liquor had an explosive, highly energetic presence in the mouth despite this tea being just shy of three years old. I loved what I got out of my time with this tea, but I can say that I feel it would be a little too intense and overwhelming to be an everyday black tea, and it would also most certainly not be appropriate for a beginner or a more casual drinker. If you are a fan of Feng Qing Dian Hong and have quite a bit of experience with such teas, then you would probably love what this tea had to offer. If you are new to Feng Qing teas, or Yunnan black teas in general, you may want to get some experience under your belt before trying a tea like this one.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Bark, Black Pepper, Bread, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Celery, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Coriander, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Marshmallow, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pine, Plum, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla