This is the second Taiwanese black tea I am reviewing. I would say that like the first one, this one is also a rare treat. Before tasting this tea, I only knew that it was a black tea from 2017 and came from Taiwan. This tea’s master is actually an oolong maker. I think this tea has a bit of an oolong soul, possibly due to how it was roasted. The first aroma I could smell was from the wet leaves, and it was reminiscent of dehydrated fruits.
Interestingly, I could not taste any fruity notes until the third infusion. In between, however, I found a dominant minerality with some sub-notes that included sweetness, acidity and caramel. More importantly, the taste was lingering at the back of my tongue pleasantly. Despite all of these going on at the background, I found this tea quite mellow. Now reflecting back on memories and my notes, I am even more impressed.
After my tasting session, I did check the seller’s notes on this tea. Their views similar but also different. For instance, they thought this was a strong tea, and I do not agree with this. On the other hand, they count mineral, dried fruits, honey amongst the tasting notes and some of which overlaps with mine. Interestingly, they do say that this was an invigorating tea, and I am entirely in agreement with this claim.
Obviously, the characteristics of a tea change over time, and I am tasting this tea when it has been aged for 3 years. I am not sure when the seller tasted it, but it might be the case that this tea got mellower over time. Could it be? I think it is essential not to stick with tasting notes that are made available by the sellers. Although they are there to help, which I appreciate, I do believe that tea is such a sophisticated world and it could be overwhelming for beginners. It is important to remember that every experience is unique, and several factors influence the taste and aromas. After all, what matters is how you feel and what you like.
Origin: Dong Ding, Lugu, Nantou county, Taiwan,
Harvest time: Winter 2017
Leave colour: Dark brown/black with red edges
Liquor colour: Orange
Tea aroma: Fruity and smoky
Tea taste: Complex multi-layered flavours (e.g. sweet, citrus, caramel) with an overarching mineral note and a lingering taste (fruity notes kick-in starting from the third steeping)
Steeping/brewing: For 5 gr of loose leaves, use 100°C water and brew for up to half minute in gongfu style or up to two minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 3 years (or perhaps more)