Review: Chan Teas Hunan Hong Cha

Black Tea, Chan Teas Add comments
CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Not a typical black tea by any stretch."
CJ’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 9.5/10, Sophie gave it 7.8/10
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I was sorry to discover that Chan Teas went out of business.  The loss of any tea distributor is a big loss to the tea community in the West.  We still have so much to learn about this wonderful plant that until VERY recently, didn't even GROW in our countries.

Though unattainable from Chan, this Hunan Hong Cha, (black tea from the Hunan province,) deserves to be drunk and evaluated, so here I go:

In the package it looked like I had  heavily oxidized, large leaves and twigs, with a very few golden pieces.  The aroma was overwhelmingly malty, almost as pungent as pipe tobacco, or a pu-er tea.

I brewed this product in boiling water for five minutes, using two teaspoons per 8 ounces of water. Although the leaves and the resulting liquid were very dark,  the flavor was light and nutty.  It was pleasant, but a bit of a disappointment since my palate was expecting something bolder and more astringent.

In order to make it more to my liking, I brewed longer.  The nutty flavor grew more intense.  I brewed a second pot using more leaves, hoping to elicit that astringent taste I associate with "black" tea.  But Hong Cha leaves just don't do astringent.  They are malty and nutty at first, and grow more caramel-like with time.

This tea was so mild, it could pass for an herbal tisane. It isn't MY cup of tea, but I would recommend it for those who enjoy a caramel  vanilla-tasting rooibos.  For those folks, I rate this tea an 8.

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