Leaf Type: Dark Tea
Where to Buy: Tea Source
This loose Hunan dark tea is very fragrant and steeps up medium-bodied, slightly sweet, and meadowy. Good for multiple infusions. This is a great introduction to Hunan dark teas.
Learn more about this tea here.
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I am not sure exactly what the difference is between “dark” teas and pu-erh teas, but, Tea Source explains it like this:
The category of China dark tea is shrouded in mystery. They are almost never seen in the West. Dark teas from Hunan Province steep up medium-bodied, very smooth, and usually with a natural sweet note as opposed to the dark earthiness of puer. Technically, dark tea is a tea that has gone through a secondary fermentation process. Like puer, dark teas age well and are probiotic.
Since it would seem that it is similar to, but different from pu-erh, I have created a new category under the “parent” category of pu-erh called “Dark Tea,” and this Hunan Dark Tea from Tea Source is the first tea that is being categorized as a Dark Tea here on the SororiTea Sisters Blog.
However, since it is similar to pu-erh, I gave the leaves a quick rinse before I brewed the tea, just as I would a pu-erh.
I will say that this doesn’t taste as earthy as pu-erh, nor does it have that sometimes “fishy” taste that pu-erh can have. This tea is what I’d categorize as a medium-bodied tea and the additional fermentation has given this tea an almost “vinegar” like note. Not so much a sour taste like vinegar, but I can taste a fermented note, tasting perhaps like a grape-y balsamic vinegar that’s been thinned with wine. But that’s just one dimension in this complex tea.
There is also a sweet, creamy sort of taste to this, and that is something I can’t recall tasting in a pu-erh! It’s almost like a vanilla frosting note! Wow! Notes of sweet honey and molasses, but again … lighter than these. Almost like a thinned molasses. Notes of earth, but I like that the earth tones aren’t dominating the cup, instead, I’m experiencing more of the grape-y and sweeter flavors of vanilla cream.
What an enjoyable tea experience! This is remarkably smooth and mild.
My second infusion proved to be sweeter than the first. It was a little less creamy than the first infusion. Not quite as “vanilla frosting” as the first, but I still taste the honey notes and the fruit notes are emerging. I am also noticing a mineral-y sort of taste that imparts a slightly dry note toward the tail. I’m also noticing an ever so slight grassy tone to this cup.
The mineral notes seem to have replaced the “fermented” note that I tasted in the first cup, because I’m not getting that fermented wine/balsamic flavor that I experienced in the first cup, but, as I said, the fruit notes become more focused in this second cup.
It’s hard to say which cup I preferred – the first or the second! Both were delightful. This is a really good tea, I highly recommend it.
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!
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