|"This is a black tea that doesn't bite on first sip, rather it creeps up on the drinker."|
The appearance of the leaves was as impressive as I expected them to be - small, twisty needles of gold amidst black tea browns. Their fragrance was malty, smoky, and vaguely muscatel. An untrained eye (not that mine is beyond novice) would confuse this for a Darjeeling by presentation alone.
Tao Tea Leaf recommended a lighter steep than I thought for this black tea; 185F for one-and-a-half minutes at most for the first two steeps. Gaiwan instructions differed slightly in the time. I went with the glass recommendation of 1 teaspoon in 8oz. and adhered to their infusion recommendation.
At only a minute and a half, the infusion colored to clear but bright gold with a nutty/malty nose. The flavor possessed shades of honey, caramel, smoke, and all with only a slight hint of astringency. A second steep at the same duration turned up a sweeter note on the foretaste and a creamier aftertaste. The key word here, though, is "smooth". This is a black tea that doesn't bite on first sip, rather it creeps up on the drinker. Last thing one notices, they're awake and thinking, "Mmmmm."
I preferred the second steep to the first, probably due to the higher-temp water. Not sure. Either way, this was an excellent and quick cup o' gold.
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