I have reviewed a Yingde Black No. 9 from the same vendor and to be honest, I like number 9 better. Both teas were made by the same vendor, but they come from different tea cultivars. This tea was made out of Hongyan No. 12 cultivar, an oolong cultivar that grows in the region, but this producer only makes black tea. If you compare the dry leaves of No. 9 with No. 12, you will see the difference:
The No. 9 seems to have more golden tips than No. 12. Although this only does not make Number 9 a higher-grade tea. Taste-wise I thought that No. 9 was more interesting as it had starchy, floral and fruity notes with a slight sweetness and some maltiness which is to me was layers of complexity. The No.12, on the other hand, started with a caramel flavour and floral fragrance and ended with slightly tart malty notes. The vendor suggested that number 12 was a more elegant tea. Maybe it is true, but I enjoyed the 9 better.
I only had samples for these teas, and could not compare them to each other simultaneously. However, still, I thought it was an excellent example of the importance of cultivars for the tea’s character given that these two teas came from the same area, harvested at the same season and processed by the same people.
Origin: Yingde, Qingyuan, Guangdong
Harvest time: Autumn 2020
Leaf colour: Tones of dark brown with a few golden tips
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea Aroma: Floral and caramel
Tea taste: Subtle sweetness with a strong malt finish
Steeping/brewing: Place 4g in 100ml of water at 90ºC for 10 seconds for the first infusion, with an additional 10 seconds for the 3 subsequent infusions.
Shelf life: 3 years