I have a privilege to try Aytul’s black tea (please see my review of her white tea here). She has been experimenting with the black tea for two years, and she says she has not yet perfected the production. Despite that, she provided me with a sample, and I would like to tell you about it.
My first impression was ‘wow’, such a sweet black tea. It had a woody and smoky flavour and a sweet taste which is not very easy to achieve as far as I know. I noticed that some of the leaves were not fully oxidised as they turned green after infusing. Aytul humbly explained the possible reasons for this as follows: i) the initial withering of the leaves was insufficient; ii) some of the leaves might have been exposed to sunlight while picking and withering which changes the composition of the leaf; iii) the oxidation was not completed fully.
To make this tea, Aytul hand-rolled the withered leaves on bamboo. Then she applies vapour on the leaves for oxidation which takes about a couple of hours. She thinks that next time she should extend this process for another hour to ensure full oxidation. She then dries the leaves on a wood fire (yes!). This was a very delicious tea already. As Aytul is planning to experiment more with this to improve it, I am looking forward to tasting the future versions of this fantastic tea.
Type: Black tea
Origin: Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: May 2020
Leave colour: Dark brown mixed with occasional dark green leaves
Liquor colour: Honey
Tea aroma: Flowery, woody and smoky
Tea taste: Sweet with woody undernotes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three 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 (to improve shelf life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, dark place with low temperatures)