Side-By-Side : Poabs OP Black Tea and Keemum Congou Hao Ya A Black Tea

I find that the best way to enhance one’s ability to differentiate between and learn to identify teas from various regions is to do a side-by-side comparison. Today, I am comparing two black teas from very different regions. Therefore, the teas should have significantly different characteristics.

The first tea is an Orange Pekoe (OP) black tea from Poabs Organic Estates. This estate is located in the Nelliyampathy Hills in Chittur Taluk, Palakkad District, Kerala state of South India. Here is a quote from the Poabs Organic Estates website, “Kerala state, known as “God’s Own Country”, is a tropical paradise famous for its enchanting backwaters, lush green hills, ayurvedic systems, and cultural heritage, and attracts ecotourists from around the world. Through sustainable agriculture, Poabs Organic Estates makes a positive contribution to the ecosystem.” To visit the Poabs Organic Estates website, please click here. In addition to tea, Poabs grows many vegetables and spices, as well as coffee.

The second tea is the famous Keemun Congou Hao Ya grade A black tea from Anhui Tea Imports and Exports. This company owns about 20,000 hectares (nearly 50,000 acres) of tea plantations in and around Qimen county, Anhui Province, China. They produce many styles of tea in addition to this famous black tea that has been used in English Breakfast blends throughout tea’s European history. The Camellia Sinensis Sinensis cultivars are used to produce Keemun black teas.

Let’s see how these vastly different black teas compare. Let the journey begin…

Poabs OP1 (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Left) Dry Leaves
Poabs OP (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Right) Dry Leaves
Poabs OP1 Dry Leaves
Poabs OP Dry Leaves
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A Dry Leaves
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of these two teas are quite different. The Poabs OP have a light to dark brown color, while the Keemum is black with some golden tips. The leaves of the Poabs OP are fairly large and rolled, with an occasional twig being visible (see photo). The Keemun leaves are much smaller and finer, twisted, no sticks, and obviously contains some tips. The Poabs OP leaves give scents of light molasses, wood, spices, and baked biscuits. The Keemun leaves give off scents of cocoa, malt, and other characteristics that remind me of dry red wine. The Poabs OP has a more spicy and woody character, while the Keemun is sweeter.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in ceramic professional tasting sets. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes.

Poabs OP1 (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Left) 1st Infusion
Poabs OP (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Right) 1st Infusion
Poabs OP1 1st Infusion
Poabs OP 1st Infusion
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A 1st Infusion
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A 1st Infusion

The first infusion of the Poabs OP produced a liquor with a orange color with a red tint. The Keemun liquor had a darker orange color, almost red. Both were clear and transparent. The aroma of the Poabs OP had floral, citrus, dry wood, and spicy scents. The Keemun had scents of pine wood, burgundy wine, and light floral. The Poabs OP had a brighter aroma, while the Keemun was bold. The Poabs OP had a medium-full body, with a slightly dry feel. The Keemun had a full body, with a dry feel like a burgundy wine. The Poabs OP had notes of spice, dry wood, citrus, and light floral in the taste. There was a moderate astringency. The aftertaste was spicy and floral. The Keemun had bold notes of pine, burgundy wine, and light floral. There was a mild astringency. The aftertaste was winey and lightly floral.

Poabs OP1 (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Left) 1st Infusion
Poabs OP1 (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Right) 1st Infusion
Poabs OP1 Infused Leaves
Poabs OP1 Infused Leaves
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A Infused Leaves
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A Infused Leaves

The infused leaves of the Poabs OP have a dark green to brown color. The leaves are fairly large fragments with an occasional twig. This indicates a cultivar that produces a larger leaf, perhaps an Assamica or other hybrid. The aroma has scents of wood, spice, and light sweetness.

The infused leaves of the Keemun have a uniform copper color. The leaves are rather fine fragments with some tips being present. These fragments indicate the smaller leaves produced by the Camellia Sinensis Sinensis cultivar known to be used in Keemum teas. The aroma has scents of toast, pine, and resin.

Poabs OP1 (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Left) 2nd Infusion
Poabs OP (Left) and Anhui Tea Co Keemun Hao Ya A (Right) 2nd Infusion
Poabs OP1 2nd Infusion
Poabs OP 2nd Infusion
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A 2nd Infusion
Anhui Tea Keemun Hao Ya A 2nd Infusion

Both types of tea leaves were infused a second time. Although the general characteristics remained the same from infusion to infusion, it seemed to me that the Poabs OP retained stronger properties than the Keemun. This could be due to the larger leaf fragments of the Poabs OP. Both teas produced tasteful infusions with fairly strong bodies.

The conclusion: although these two black teas are much different, both have their advantages. The Poabs OP had a bright smell and taste, which I believe would be more palatable to lesser experienced tea drinkers. There is no need to add milk to this Poabs OP. The Keemun had a bold aroma and taste, with a full body, which is why it is so popular among more experienced tea drinkers and those who like to add milk or cream. However, it certainly does not need milk or cream to be highly enjoyable. Basically, a person’s preference between these two teas will come down to how bold and heavy they like their tea. A drinker with a lighter preference will certainly prefer the Poabs OP, and a drinker with a bold preference will prefer the Keemun.

Thank you to Poabs Organic Estates and Anhui Tea Imports and Exports Company for providing the samples used in this comparison. Both are excellent teas, and I truly enjoyed this comparison. Cheers!

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Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea from Teavivre

After the successful review of the Jin Xuan Milk Oolong from Teavivre, I have been highly motivated to dive in to the other samples. Although the Da Hong Pao Rock Wulong keeps calling me, the Yun Nan Dian Hong black tea is more appropriate for this early morning review.

I have to give Teavivre credit on their website. They have a very helpful amount of information, complete with reviews, for each of their teas. A link to the information they provide on this Yun Nan Dian Hong black tea is available here. I will note a few details here. This black tea is hand-made in the Fengqing region of Yunnan Province, China. According to the TeaVivre website, Fengqing is the origination point of Yunnan black teas. Below is a map of Yunnan Province, China. Image is courtesy of the TeaVivre website.

Map of Yunnan Province, China (Courtesy of TeaVivre.com)
Map of Yunnan Province, China (Courtesy of TeaVivre.com)

The appearance of abundant bright golden tips in the sample pack has me excited, so let the journey begin…

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Dry Leaves
Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of this tea are mostly bright gold, with some dark brown to black. The leaves appear to be almost entirely buds. The few pieces that do have any additional leaves included with the bud show a fine pluck, where only the first leaf down from the bud is picked. The buds and leaves are nicely twisted. The buds are softer to the touch than most black teas. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, caramel, and a light dried fruit (raisin) scent. The aroma also has a bakey character to it.

Four grams of dry leaves were placed in an 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 190°F (90°C). Leaves were infused for four minutes.

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea 1st Infusion
Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion had a dark orange-red color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of caramel, citrus, dried fruit, and lightly floral. The liquor is full-bodied, with a velvety smooth feel. The taste has notes of citrus, raisins, caramel, and light malt. The finish has notes of malt and cocoa, and the aftertaste is sweet and lingering.

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion had a lighter shade of orange-red color. The aroma changed rather significantly, lightening on the citrus scents, and gaining strength on the raisin scent. There are also scents of honey, and a touch of black pepper. The taste also lightened on the citrus notes, but otherwise retained the notes of raisins, malt, and caramel. The aftertaste took a slightly floral turn, but also had the sweet notes of the first infusion in a lighter form. This change of character was very surprising in a good way. These two infusions were like two different teas, both of which were very good.

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion had a bright orange color, significantly lighter than the second infusion. The aroma retained scents of raisins, honey, and black pepper. The body has lightened to medium, but retained the velvety smooth feel. The taste again lightened on the citrus notes, and notes of raisins and other fruits began to come forward. The aftertaste continues to turn to the floral side and lightened on the sweet notes. Again, this third infusion was quite different from the other two.

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Infused Leaves
Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves had a uniform copper color. The number of buds far outnumbered the fine plucked leaves with buds. Almost all buds and leaves are whole, with only a few fragments found. The aroma has scents of raisins and malt, and is an overall sweet aroma. The buds and leaves feel as though they could provide an additional infusion or two.

This Yun Nan Dian Hong black tea from TeaVivre is a very high quality tea. The aroma, color, and taste of the liquor are all very welcoming. The layers of taste that seemed to come with each infusion were very different, interesting, and all were thoroughly enjoyable. The change of tastes from citrus to raisins to other fruits was very interesting. Another TeaVivre review has been completed, and another recommendation is in order. This is certainly a tea that should be experienced. Thank you, TeaVivre, for including this tea in the samples! Highly recommended.

 

 

Jin Jun Mei Black Tea from Lin Farm

Another exciting day, and another package of excellent and authentic Chinese tea from the Lin Family in Anxi County, Fujian Province, China. I have raved about the high quality Ti Kuan Yin that comes from the Lin family farm. In fact, that is the only Ti Kuan Yin that I buy for my personal supply, as I have not cared for most of the other Ti Kuan Yin oolongs that I have tried. The point being, the Lin family farm produces some exceptional quality teas.

In recent weeks, I have read a few articles regarding the blossoming popularity in China of a particular black tea, Jin Jun Mei. Despite the fact that it has only been developed in the past decade, Jin Jun Mei has gained popularity like no other black tea in China’s history. Having this tea name so freshly in my memory, I was excited to see a sample of it listed on the packing slip with my most recent purchase of Ti Kuan Yin from the Lins. It seems that the Lins have a family member in Wuyi County who produces some very good teas, including Jin Jun Mei and Rou Gui black tea. Reading of it’s popularity in China, I am interested to see what all of the excitement is about.

That being said, let the journey begin..

Jin Jun Mei Dry Leaves
Jin Jun Mei Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of this Jin Jun Mei are a uniform dark brown-black color, with an abundance of gold tips. The leaves are fairly short in length, and twisted. They appear to be small leaves or buds, and few stems. The aroma is sweet (malt, molasses), with a touch of spice (cinnamon), and an attractive bakey tone.

This sample was prepared using the standard method. Purified water was heated to 212°F (100°C). Three grams of dry leaves were placed into a professional tasting cup holding about three ounces (100 ml). The leaves were infused for fifteen seconds, with ten seconds added to each additional infusion.

Jin Jun Mei 1st Infusion
Jin Jun Mei 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a beautiful bright amber color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet (malt), with a slight floral (orchid) scent. This liquor has a full bodied, mouth filling taste. The taste is sweet (malt), floral (orchid) and had a fruity acidity to it (pineapple?). Floral (orchid) notes are felt in the finish. There was a very mild astringency. Very tasteful and sweet, despite the short suggested infusion time. I am beginning to understand it’s appeal.

Jin Jun Mei 2nd Infusion
Jin Jun Mei 2nd Infusion

The second infusion (25 seconds) produced a slightly darker shade of amber than the 1st infusion. The aroma lost no strength or character, remaining sweet and slightly floral. Body remains full, with a mouth filling taste. The taste remains sweet, floral, and slight fruity, with a floral finish. The fruity acidity did dissipate some in this second infusion, leaving the malt taste more dominant. Astringency remains mild, but noticeable. I like the short infusion times, as they produce great tasting teas, and the leaves should be able to produce quite a few infusions.

Jin Jun Mei 3rd Infusion
Jin Jun Mei 3rd Infusion

The third infusion (35 seconds) produced a liquor more similar to the first infusion, slightly lighter shade of amber than the second infusion. Aroma is less strong on the sweet (malt) scent, and more dominant in the floral (orchid) scent. The body remains full, with a mouth filling taste. The taste also lightened on the sweet (malt) note, and is more dominant on the floral (orchid) note, with the fruity acidity (pineapple) still light, but noticeable. The floral (orchid) finish and aftertaste remain. The astringency has dissipated some. I found this third infusion to have the best balance out of the three infusions. It has a perfect blend of sweet and floral scents and tastes. Very high quality third infusion.

Jin Jun Mei Infused Leaves
Jin Jun Mei Infused Leaves

The infused leaves of the Jin Jun Mei have a uniform brown color. The leaves consist of some fragments and a good number of buds. A few stems are present. The leaves still have some structural integrity, indicating that additional infusions can produce an acceptable flavor. The aroma of the infused leaves retain the sweet (malt) and floral (orchid) aromas. These leaves definitely have some taste left to give.

Although I do not have a photo, I did have time to make a fourth infusion. The color remained a nice shade of amber, not much lighter than the third infusion. The aroma lightened on the sweet (malt) scent, but the floral (orchid) scent persisted, and even a fruity scent can be felt. The body lightened some, but is still medium-full. The taste reflected the aroma, lightening on the sweet (malt) note, and maintaining a very pleasant floral (orchid) note, with the fruity note remaining. The aftertaste is still floral and lingering, indicating the quality of the tea.

To get four solid infusions out of a black tea is very impressive. Not only did I get four solid infusions, but I am strongly confident that one, two, or even three more is a reasonable expectation of this tea. The trick with this tea is the infusion time. I admit that my first tasting of this tea had a two minute infusion time, and the results, although not bad, were not nearly as good as the results with the short infusion time. I tried the shorter time, and the difference in aroma and taste were vast. This tea had a very nice balance of tastes, and the layering of tastes from infusion to infusion was very impressive. Assuming this is an authentic Jin Jun Mei from Tongmu village, then I can understand the excitement and popularity of this tea. Thank you, Linda, for your generosity in providing this excellent sample to me. Another impressive produce from the Lin family.

 

Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea from Vicony Teas

Today, after about nine months of owning a kilogram of this great black tea, did I finally realize that I never actually did a review on it. The Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea was among the first three teas that I had directly imported from China earlier this year. As I began to build an interest in the process of importing tea, I came across Vicony Teas. I remember the first time I opened the PDF catalog from Vicony. I expected a few pages of a basic list. Instead, they had twenty or thirty pages of products, with organic certifications noted, origin information, and even a photo provided for every tea. In the second PDF catalog, they included hyperlinks to webpages with complete information on every tea, from cultivar, to processing technique, to historical information, and photos of the dry leaf, liquor, and wet leaf. To this point, almost a year later, I have yet to find a company that provides the treasure of content on each product that comes even close to Vicony Teas. They have done a phenomenal job in that respect. And did I mention that they have about thirty pages worth of products?!

This golden snail black tea was, and still is, unlike any other black tea that I have come across. As the name suggests, and anyone that I have ever showed the dry leaves to has confirmed, the shape of these leaves truly do resemble a snail. The leaves are rolled into nice spirals, similar to that of a Bi Luo Chun green tea. The dry leaves also have a downy soft feel to them, almost like a white tea. This is a beautifully colored tea, with bright golden tips.

Why have I waited so long to review this tea!? Let the journey begin…

Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea Dry Leaves
Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea Dry Leaves

As mentioned above, the dry leaves of this Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail black tea are mostly gold in color, with some dark brown to black leaves. The leaves are uniformly rolled into the shape of a snail. There is absolutely no breakage or crumbs, all the leaves are fully intact and rolled. The leaves have a soft, downy-like feel to them, lacking the hard and dry feel of most other black tea. The aroma is reminiscent of sweet hay, with slight notes of dried fruit and malt/caramel. According to Vicony’s information, these leaves are from the Fengqing large leaf cultivar, and are grown/processed in Fengqing, Yunnan Province, China.

The standard preparation method was used for this tasting. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). Fifteen grams of dry tea leaves were placed in a thirty-four ounce (1L) glass teapot. The leaves were infused for 2 minutes, then the liquor strained into a separate decanter.

Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea 1st Infusion
Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark amber color (dark orange-red). The liquor was translucent, but not transparent. The aroma was malty and slightly spicy of pepper. The liquor has a full body, with a very smooth feel. The taste is malty, mellow, and very slightly spicy (pepper). There is very little to no bitterness or astringency whatsoever. The aftertaste is mild, with a light taste of sweet hay. There is no need for milk or sugar in this tea. It is very tasteful, yet mild, as it is.

Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a very slightly darker shade of amber (dark orange-red). Again the liquor was translucent, not transparent. The aroma remains malty and a little more spicy (pepper) than the first infusion. The liquor retains a full body and smooth feel. The taste remains malty, mellow, and slightly spicy (pepper). Again the presence of bitterness or astringency is almost non-existent. The aftertaste remains light, and tastes of sweet hay. The second infusion was just as tasteful and heavy as the first, and I do not see the third losing much character.

Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a color that is slightly lighter than the first infusion, but overall remains a dark amber color. The liquor remains translucent, but not transparent. The aroma has lightened some, but remains malty and slightly spicy. The body remains full, yet lighter, and smooth. The taste has also lightened some, remaining malty, mellow, and slightly spicy. The aftertaste is light, and is taking on a somewhat floral taste. This third infusion is surprisingly tasteful for a black tea, and I have no doubt that a fourth and maybe a fifth infusion could produce an acceptable flavor.

Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea Infused Leaves
Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves are a uniform copper color. Most leaves display a fine pluck of two leaves and a bud, while some display the “imperial pluck” of one leaf and the bud. The leaves display fine downy like hairs on them. The size of the leaf is larger than that of other Chinese teas, indicating the Fengqing large leaf cultivar. There is an abundance of buds. There is very little breakage or crumbs. The vast majority of the leaves are fully intact and still attached to the stem. The aroma of the leaves is malty and pleasant. The leaves have a surprising level of structural durability, suggesting that additional infusions are possible.

This Supreme Yunnan Golden Snail Black Tea continues to be one of my favorite black teas. Every aspect of this tea is unique, from the look and feel of the dry leaves, to the beautiful color and smooth, mellow taste of the liquor, to the fully intact and larger than normal infused leaves. There is a reason that I am almost completely finished with this kilogram of tea, while some other large purchases are at risk of not being consumed before their shelf life expires. I recommend this black tea again and again, and many of my friends and family are always requesting a pot of this tea when they know I have it around. It is a classic. Do not let the unusual look of the dry leaves turn you off, or else you will be missing out on a great tea experience. Thank you for the excellent tea, and the plethora of information on your website, Vicony. I look forward to making many more orders from you in the future.

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea from Changsha Nutrahealth

On October 18th of 2013, my journey through the world of tea tasting carried me to the Anhui Province of China. This sample of Keemun Mao Feng tea was provided by Changsha Nutrahealth Biotech Co.

The leaves used in this tea are the same leaves used in the well known and delicious Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea. Generally, these tea bushes are grown in the Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain) region of the Anhui Province. There are some awe inspiring photos of these tea plantations that can be found with a simple Google search of “Huang Shan Tea Farm photo.”

The sample pack has been opened, and a sweet smell of dried fruit and licorice is nicely complimenting the brilliant looking black and gold leaves. Let the journey begin…

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Dry Leaves
Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves of this Keemun Mao Feng black tea are either a uniform black or gold in color, with a slight edge to the gold leaves in overall number. The leaves are nicely twisted, with a fairly uniform size and shape. The pluck is very evident, being one leaf and the bud. The aroma is sweet, like dried fruit, there is also another slightly sweet and spicy scent, I am going to classify it as licorice, for lack of a better term. There is minimal breakage and no crumbs.

The standard method of preparation was used for this sample. Purified spring water was heated to 200°F (96°C). Seven and a half grams of dry tea leaves were placed in a 21 ounce (600 ml) cast iron tetsubin teapot. The leaves were infused for two minutes.

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea 1st Infusion
Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively deep amber color, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet like malt, and slightly woodsy. The body is full, with a smooth texture. The taste is sweet (malt), with a very light and pleasant bitterness. The aftertaste is mild and lightly malty.

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a lively deep amber color, very slightly lighter than the first infusion. The aroma remains malty and woodsy. The body remains full and smooth, very slightly lighter than the first infusion. The taste remains sweet (malt), with the bitterness lightening slightly. Aftertaste remains mild and malty. This was a very tasteful second infusion, almost at the same level as the first.

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a brighter shade of amber color. The aroma lightened some, but remains malty, with the woodsy quality having diminished. The body remains surprisingly full and smooth. The taste remains malty, although lighter than the second infusion, with the very light bitterness remaining. Aftertaste is lighter. Overall, still a tasteful third infusion for a black tea. I believe a fourth infusion could provide an acceptable flavor.

Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Infused Leaves
Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Infused Leaves

The dry leaves are a perfectly uniform lighter brown color. Pluck is one fine leaf and a bud. Plenty of buds are present, as well as plenty of fully intact leaves, some still attached to the stem. There are also some leaf fragments, but even so are larger fragments. The aroma is sweet and malty. The leaves are somewhat durable, suggesting that a fourth infusion may have some taste to offer.

Having sampled many Darjeeling and Ceylon black teas recently, this Keemun Mao Feng was a nice way to return to the realm of Chinese black tea. This is a nicely balanced, full bodied black tea that anyone can enjoy. Although I found no need for additives to enjoy this tea, it would certainly take milk or cream well. All three infusions had a high quality taste and beautiful color. This tea is ideal for beginning the day. It is easy to understand why teas of this style are popular in breakfast blends.

Ancient Black Tea from Changsha Nutrahealth Bio-Tech Co. Ltd.

On August 24th of 2013, I tasted a sample of Ancient Black Tea. This sample was provided by Changsha Nutrahealth Bio-tech Co. Ltd. Changsha Nutrahealth is based in Hunan province, China. They specialize in a variety of industries, including the tea industry. To view their webpage, please click here.

Unfortunately, I do not have much information regarding this tea. If my contact from Changsha Nutrahealth has any useful information on this tea, please contact me, or leave a comment on this review, and I will be happy to revise this post. What I can say is that I was very excited to review this tea the moment I opened the sample pack. What an amazing aroma of citrus peel and cocoa hints.

Now, on to the review.

Tea Analysis and Review Form

Date:  08/24/2013

Product Name:  Ancient Black Tea (NH2048)

Purchased From:  Changsha Nutrahealth Bio-tech Co. Ltd.

Type of Tea:  Chinese Black

Tea Leaf Characteristics Prior to Infusion:

image

Aroma:  Rich citrus (orange peels), hints of cocoa and spice. Incredible aroma.

Dryness:  Very dry. Leaves crack easily, coarse to fine crumbling.

Color:  Black, some light to dark brown.

Texture:  Rigid, very dry twisted leaves.

Size, Shape, Length:  Twisted leaves, some curled, average length of 3/4 inch (19 mm). Longer leaves at 1.25 inches (31.75 mm).

Unique Characteristics:  Amazing room filling citrusy aroma. Some very long leaves.

Sampling Measurements:

Amount of Water:  8 oz (227 ml)

Amount of Tea:  3 grams

Tea Liquor Evaluation:

First Infusion:

image

Water Temperature:  200ºF  (93.3ºC)

Steep Time:  2 Minutes and 0 seconds

Aroma:  Rich citrusy (orange peels), some earthy qualities.

Color: Lively copper. Clean, transparent.

Taste:  Citrusy (orange peel), full bodied and mouth-filling, mildly bitter, light cocoa hints, citrusy aftertaste.

Comments:  This first infusion lived up to the expectations that the aroma of the dry leaves created. The aroma of the liquor was rich and appetizing. The color was bright and lively. The taste was quite possibly one of the best black teas I have had yet.  I have no doubt the second infusion will be great as well.

Second Infusion:

image

Water Temperature: 200ºF  (93.3ºC)

Steep Time: 2 Minutes and 15 seconds

Aroma: Citrusy (orange peels), slightly lighter than 1st infusion.

Color:  Lively copper, slightly lighter than 1st infusion. Clear, transparent.

Taste:  Citrusy (orange peel), slightly lighter than 1st infusion. Earthy hints are becoming noticeable. Retains full body and mouth filling taste. Mildly bitter. Citrusy aftertaste. Very light cocoa hints.

Comments:  Overall a lighter brew than the 1st infusion. Despite the lighter characteristics, this is still a very tasteful and enjoyable infusion. I would take this 2nd infusion over many 1st infusions of other black teas. However, I am concerned that the 3rd infusion may lose too much character.

Third Infusion:

image

Water Temperature: 200ºF  (93.3ºC)

Steep Time:  2 Minutes and 30 seconds

Aroma:  Citrusy (orange peel), lighter than 2nd infusion.  Slightly earthy.

Color:  Retains a lively copper color, although noticeably lighter than the 2nd infusion. Clear, transparent.

Taste:  Citrusy (orange peel) flavor is becoming more of an earthy and ripe fruit taste, like peach. Very mild bitter. Retains full body and mouth filling taste.  Aftertaste remains citrusy and fruity.

Comments:  This notice 3rd infusion had a very different array of tastes, and I mean that in a very good way. The citrus taste was still present, but the earthy notes became much more prominent,  and a peachy taste appeared in a very noticeable and pleasant way. Awesome 3rd infusion. Completely unexpected.

Tea Leaf Characteristics After Infusions:

image

Color:  Mostly uniform brown, some brownish-green.

Size, Shape, Length:  Many large, mostly intact leaves attached to stem. Some clippings. Average length of 1.25 inches (31.75 mm). Longest leaf about 2 inches (51 mm). Leaves are broader and longer than more common black teas.

Aroma:  Citrusy (orange peel), sweet.

Unique Characteristics:  Some very long, broad leaves with long stems, suggesting that these leaves are from older (ancient) tea bushes rather than younger bushes. Very sweet, citrusy aroma. Leaves have some durability, but it varies from leaf to leaf, suggesting that there are leaves from different farms or varietal bushes. A fourth infusion may be possible.

Final Comments:  This was a very unique tea with great characteristics. From the moment the sample bag was opened,  to the last sip of the 3rd infusion,  I was very impressed by this tea. The price tag is high for a black tea, but the quality of the tea is high as well. I have to admit that I wish I had more information on this tea. The lack of information is the only negative part of this review. However, I find it very important to know as much as possible about the teas that I review. That being said, this is an amazing tea that would be very suitable for special guests or occasions. Great product, Changsha Nutrahealth. One of the best black teas that I have tried.