Thursday, December 10, 2015

Yunnan Sourcing's Imperial Pure Bud Black Tea

Yunnan Sourcing's Description
An incredible premium pure bud black tea. Made from the highest quality high altitude material from Ning'Er county of Simao. Only young bud sprouts are picked and then expertly processed into this delicate and textured Imperial grade black tea!

My thoughts
Yass! More dianhong! This beautiful tea came with last month's tea club, and I was excited for it because this tea has been on my wishlist for some time now. In my book, you just can't go wrong with a malty, chocolatey tea, especially not one from Simao district.

Dry leaves - This tea is gorgeous. Easily one of the prettiest dianhongs I've ever seen. The fuzzy leaves are a rich, bright golden yellow, and curled slightly to make a soft, cushiony pile in the teapot. They smell of malt and cocoa, richer than a typical fengqing dianhong; just from the smell I can tell that this would make a great dessert tea.

Brewing parameters - 200F, 5s first, +3s after. Most black teas I brew western style, but dianhongs are strictly brewed gongfu style. Just my preference.

Tasting notes - Dark chocolate, malt, sugarcane, sweet, raisin

Everything about this tea is delicious. The aroma is a rich, sweet, and malty with a touch of dark chocolate, and the color is a beautiful dark amber hue. For the first couple steeps, the maltiness is the most prominent flavor, followed closely by dark chocolate and raw sugarcane. As the fuzzy leaves release their trichomes, it imparts a tingly mouthfeel. It's certainly not astringent, but the tingle is quite enjoyable.

In steeps 3-6, the chocolate comes quickly to the forefront and joins hands with the malt. The sweetness is still quite strong, and begins to bring the mild taste of dark raisins as an afterthought. I drink a fair amount of various dianhongs, and I can say with some certainty that this is one of the most richly flavored chocolatey dianhongs I've had the pleasure of drinking so far.

Steeps 7-12 are still extremely sweet and mellower than earlier. At this point, it's beginning to remind me of the mu shu hong cha black I reviewed last month. That one skipped the chocolate entirely, but with that addition it probably would have tasted quite similar to this tea now. The raisin element is still subtle, but it is also accompanied by a slight fruity florality that I can't really place.

This is a wonderful tea, and I can't recommend it enough. It's definitely one of my favorite dianhongs in my stash, and is a great tea to impress company or just to drink yourself

You can buy this tea from Yunnan Sourcing here and here.

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