Review: Canton Tea Co. Wild Mountain Black

Black Tea, Canton Tea Co., Single Estate Tea, Yunnan Tea Add comments
cantonwildmountainblackThis tea was made with the “Wild Tree Purple Varietal”, which is endemic to the mountains of the Chinese province of Yunnan. Harvested by a small producer at an altitude of 1700m in the Spring of 2012, only a small amount of this tea is made each year. It promises soft and smooth caramel and malt notes. The long, slender, lightly twisted leaves are scented with a chocolate and brine aroma that is quite enticing.

I followed Canton's suggested brewing instructions, infusing 2 level teaspoonfuls in 200ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 2 and a half minutes. The brewed tea's aroma is similar to the dry leaf's but a bit heavier on the chocolate. The rusty brown cup is light and smooth but remarkably flavourful. Starting off with some slightly sour tobacco and bread tones, the flavours become progressively sweeter, channelling the taste of molasses and then maple syrup, ending with an intense hyacinth aftertaste. It's quite the ride!

I steeped the leaves again, infusing them for 3 and a half minutes. This brew is relatively similar to the previous but the flavours are a bit more even throughout the sip. The floral finish has also given way to more complex coffee, burnt sugar and elderberry notes. All in all, this cup is equally as enjoyable as the first.

After a 5 minute-long brew, the tea is now much more savoury, with prominent toasted bread notes. It's a rich and satisfying cup but it lacks the sweet sparkle of the two previous steeps. I could probably pull another brew from the leaves but I decide to quit while I'm ahead.

This tea manages to be both light-bodied and sprightly but decadently flavourful at the same time. It benefits from letting it cool a little before taking a sip. I also found that a high leaf to water ratio is best to get the most out of the leaves. This offering is a bit on the pricier side but not outrageously so considering the labour involved in picking wild tea leaves at a high elevation. It's definitely worth a splurge - highly recommended!
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