Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Three years ago, we found an incredible Golden Buds tea from Yunnan during a research trip. Since starting to import teas, we have been looking for another crop that would live up to our memories, and we finally found it. The first steeping is sweet and rich like honey candy melting in the mouth. The body is full, with the substantive creamy texture chocolate milk. The second steeping is where the tea really starts to shine, with the honey sweetness moving quickly towards that lingering natural sweetness of cinnamon tea, boiled from Vietnamese cinnamon bark and reduced for hours. This cinnamon sweetness combines with the creamy quality to create a full and satisfying black tea experience subtle enough for even a white tea enthusiast to enjoy. Late in steeping, the particular floral creamy texture of a good Tieguanyin oolong comes through. Try this one as the perfect after-dinner tea, or steep it up for hours in a gaiwan and watch it change.
These leaves are gorgeously golden!
I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch and after steeping, I generally remove the lid so that I can remove the basket before I pour. The aroma that emerged as I removed the lid was incredible. It smelled just like honey. I was not prepared for just how deliciously fragrant this tea would be.
I fully intend on taking advantage of the multiple infusions that the above description promises, so, I hope you’ll stay with me as I write about each one …
The first infusion is very much as the description suggests, it tastes very much like honey. There are hints of a smoky-spicy background that are hiding behind the abundant honey flavor. However, these intriguing notes seem to peek out every once in a while just to remind me that they are there, and entice me to continue to sip so that I can move on to the next infusion … and hopefully experience them a little more. This first infusion is (obviously) sweet and incredibly smooth in both taste and texture. Pleasantly rich and invigorating.
With the second infusion, the honey flavor is not quite as strong but it is still there. While it is still piping hot, the honey tone is the flavor I notice first, but it tapers off almost immediately and becomes more of a hint of sweetness rather than a strong presence. The cinnamon tones mentioned in the description are certainly there, although I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted the Viennese Cinnamon Bark tea before.
As this second infusion cools slightly, more of the honey tones emerge, but still not quite as strong as with the first infusion. It has a deep, wood-like taste to it, not so much smoky, I think I’d describe it more as rustically masculine. Rugged. The texture is a little thinner, and I’m noticing a bit more astringency than I did with the first infusion.
With my third (and final) infusion, I noticed a smoother, mellower tea. Undercurrents of honey-esque tones, with a savory spiced tone in the foreground. Less of the wood-like flavor that I noticed so distinctly in the second infusion. Interestingly enough, though, the texture feels much more like the first infusion than the second – rich and smooth, with a soft mouthfeel. Less astringency with this infusion, too.
I really enjoyed my journey with this tea. A beautiful tea to enjoy on this beautiful afternoon.