Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Whispering Pines Tea Co.
This Yunnan black tea was harvested in early spring (2014) and carries a robust and delicious flavor profile! The first thing you taste is a thick honey flavor giving way to creamy cocoa with a touch of malt. A heavy molasses-like sweetness lingers on your tongue while juicy morel plays with a hint of gardenia in the aftertaste. This tea is delicious hot as well as iced and holds up very well to three or more infusions!
Learn more about this tea here.
Black tea will always be my absolute favourite, and as I discover more Chinese black teas, they rise higher in my estimation. I bought this one from Whispering Pines in an effort to try more teas from Yunnan, which (of all black teas) seem to possess the majority of characteristics I really enjoy. High praise indeed! This one impresses from the moment the bag is opened. The scent drifting up is pure chocolate – so much so that I almost had to check I’d actually picked up a bag of tea. The dry leaf itself is beautiful – little golden black curls that really do look like miniature snail shells. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. Since this is to be my first cup of the day, I added a splash of milk.
The initial flavour is a beautiful, creamy milk chocolate. It’s pretty hard to believe that this isn’t a cup of cocoa, but I definitely made it with tea leaves! I’m reassured when a sweet maltiness emerges in the mid-sip, along with the wonderfully comforting flavour of baked break. Tea it is, and a wonderfully sweet, smooth, chocolatey thing at that! The maltiness deepens towards the end of the sip, becoming an almost treacle-like molasses flavour. It’s rich and flavourful; a real treat for the tastebuds.
Chocolate and baked bread are my two favourite flavours in black tea, except perhaps for sweet potato and honey. To find a tea that features these so clearly is a real delight! This is a great example of a Yunnan black tea, and would make a good starting point for anyone looking to explore this particular variety. Whsipering Pines did well with this one – I’m left in no doubt as to the quality of their offerings, and it’s certainly a tea I’d be happy to repurchase in future. Well worth a try.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Locally at Cultivate Tea
An easy-drinking wild black tea from a family-owned tea garden that is unique, friendly and aromatic.
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
Went into this one without much of an idea what to expect; there’s very little information on the retailer’s website (it looks like they’re more set up for local in person shopping than online orders) and there aren’t any Steepster reviews yet other than my own. But this was really good!
In fact, it was actually so good I did two infusions of it which is something I hardly ever do for anything other than oolong when I’m steeping Western style. It’s really rare for me, personally, to want to drink the same tea multiple times in one day; I just want to experience as much as possible! So that definitely says something.
The dry leaves are really pretty; they’re long and twisty and have this rusty kind of tint to them that really popped as they were steeping; very tawny and autumn like! The steeped up brew was a really pretty amber colour. It kind of reminded me of the colour of a good beer, actually.
This was actually a lot less brisk and full bodied than I had expected it to be; there was some light astringency with the first steep but that went away with the second. Other than that bit of astringency both infusions were very similar though; they had a gentle sweetness to them with top notes of fragile honeycombs and really gentle undercurrents of malt and fresh baked French bread. The finish went back to sweeter honey with floral notes as well.
This is NOT a tea to drink with milk; you would absolutely drown out the subtler, delicate flavours that are present. It’s a shame it’s not really something I can get online and it’s not available to me locally because if it was available for a reasonable price I’d totally be interest in getting a bit more of this one.