|"Bursting with sweet caramel, chocolate and malt notes and a creamy feel, this exceptional tea definitely goes down easily!"|
My sample is composed of beautifully preserved, gold, tan and ebony-coloured twisted threads. The striking orange down covering the buds is still visible. A delicious chocolate, honey, and stone fruit aroma wafts from the leaves. Once again I am amazed at that such a sweet, potent smell can come from nothing but the dried leaves of a bush. The Canton Tea Company's website recommends using 2 teaspoons of leaves per 200ml cup. That seemed a bit excessive, unless I was going to infuse the tea gong fu style. Since I was feeling lazy, instead I used a heaping teaspoon of leaves in 8 ounces of water heated to 80 degrees Celsius, and steeped for 5 minutes. This produced a walnut-coloured cup, smelling pleasantly of cocoa, peaches and honey. Bursting with caramel, chocolate and malt notes and a creamy feel, this tea definitely goes down easily. A hint of spice in the finish delivers a light astringency. There are also strong muscatel and nut flavours present, as well as some elusive floral notes, especially as the tea cools. Overall the cup is rich, deep and smooth. It makes me wonder why the Chinese don't produce more black teas. A second 6 minute infusion is more subtle but still tasty, with solid biscuity notes and a cantaloupe finish. A third 7 minute infusion is rather flat, and almost stale tasting. Clearly the leaves are now spent but having yielded two stellar infusions is nothing to sneeze at. Experimenting with longer steep times I found that absolutely no bitterness develops whatsoever. Like not at all, EVAR.
Creamy, sweet and flavourful, it's easy to see why this tea was the winner of a gold Great Taste award this year. It would be delicious served with creamy deserts, smoked cheeses or sliced fruits. Although it's a black tea, it struck me as smoother and lighter-bodied than most. To me it's a better candidate for an afternoon cup, since I need a pretty stout kick to wake me up in the morning. The good news is that the leaves are reasonably priced for their quality, an affordable luxury that I will be definitely taking advantage of!
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