Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Arum Tea
A sweet and malty flavor that jolts the taste buds, with a caramel undertone and a floral finish.
Learn more about this tea here.
I don’t think I’ve come across a black tea quite like this before. For starters, it’s appearance reminds me more of an oolong. The leaves are black/brown in colour, but they’ve been rolled into oolong-like pellets, complete with leaf stem! The scent also puts me in mind of a dark roasted oolong – it’s rich and kind of earthy, with a metallic tang. I guess these characteristics could describe a black tea too, but I personally associate them a lot more with darker oolongs, as I do the leaf preparation. Still – we shall see! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a medium golden-brown, so I made no additions.
It might look like an oolong, but it certainly doesn’t taste like one! It’s actually a mildly malty, delicately sweet tasting tea, with strong stone-fruit notes. I’m picking up apricot mostly, followed by a mild plum flavour towards the end of the sip. It’s incredibly juicy-tasting, almost as if it were infused with fruit juice rather than just being tea. It’s not, of course, and that’s what’s so incredible about it. I’ve not come across many like it previously, with the exception of Butiki’s Mi Xian Black. If you liked that one, this is definitely one to try. As it cools, I’m also picking up some bready, almost yeasty, notes. The fruitiness fades a little at this point, so it’s not as unusual as it sounds.
I really enjoyed this cup. It’s sufficiently different from other black teas to provide some much-needed variety, and the fruit notes are a particular highlight. It’s a fairly light tea, both in terms of liquor colour and body, but it’s certainly not short on the flavour front. The leaf barely unfurled on my first steep, so I imagine this one will also yield significant resteep value. Recommended!
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.