|"The mouthpiece aroma was - accurately enough - classic black tea. I thought I detected a bit of the chocolaty aspect in the finish."|
First impression? To the nostrils, it was like freebasing German chocolate on a fruit platter. The aroma was exquisite. Nilgiri-grown black teas often get a bum rap for being low quality, mostly because of their CTC cut. In reality, they can be as rich and malty as even the best of Assams. I haven't personally experienced this, but I can believe it from the scent of this alone. Yunnan blacks vary in quality. Rule o' thumb, though? The more gold to the leaves, the better the cup. Yellow-gold reeds were present in this dry batch along with the Nilgiri dark.
Brewing instructions on the site mentioned a desired temp and time, but no measurements to speak of. While vague, it allowed for a bit of "wing it" room. Sometimes that's appreciated. A bit of liberalism can be allowed with certain black teas, especially blends. That said, I leaned to the lighter side, brewing 1 tsp in 8oz of boiled water for three minutes. Just to be safe.
The liquor brewed to a sepia-like brown; thick and dark, you could almost SEE the malt of it. The mouthpiece aroma was - accurately enough - classic black tea. I thought I detected a bit of the chocolaty aspect in the finish. The flavor profile contrasted the burly visual presence. It was light, floral, crisp, and creamy; more in line with a Ceylon than a Nilgiri. I assumed the floral and crisp notes stemmed from the Yunnan contribution. And with the lighter touch on brewing, astringency was undetectable.
Art of Tea touted that this black blend won 1st Prize in the Black Tea Category at the World Tea Expo in Vegas. It's not hard to see why. Usually, subtlety is lacking when blends are made. This had all the strengths and nuances of both types of blacks. While I had this in the late afternoon, I would boast that this is a perfect morning cup o' black.
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