Monday, October 12, 2015

Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company: Alishan Black Tea (Highest Quality) A Tea Review

Bah, it was a holiday today, meaning no mail! Meaning one more day I have to wait for my kettle to arrive, the sadness, I am sure everyone who did not get mail joins me in mourning the lack of mail today. It is not all bad though, because I have Espeon snoozing beside me and Tao snoozing on the other side of the room (and by snoozing I mean snoring, loudly) and I have tea in my travel steeper while I lounge in bed. Still need to work on that lapdesk problem for bed lounging days, but that is a thing to work on later.

Today's tea comes from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, and is so new it doesn't even have a picture yet, oooh, fancy! Presenting Alishan Black Tea (Highest Quality) basically take a high mountain tea from Alishan's Zhang Shu Hu area and process it like a black tea instead of an Oolong, it was one of those 'you have my attention' moments because that sounds rather exciting. The leaves are quite pretty, mostly curly and dark, but a few have gentle golden fuzz, and the aroma is rather potent, like really quite intense! Notes of strong cocoa and dark chocolate blend with gentle woody notes and black strap molasses, and a finish of roasted red peppers. Or is that adobo? It is spicy with a peppery note but none of the tanginess or adobo, this is an unexpected bit of nose fun!

Brewing the twisty leaves brings the cocoa notes to the levels of the extreme, with accompaniments of wood, gentle smoke, molasses, and a finish of smoked yams. This tea is more rich than sweet, like you are sinking into an inky void of cocoa and molasses...guys, I think I just figured out how I want to go when it is my time. The liquid is equally intense, though it decide to take on some sweetness with creamy milk chocolate notes, rich dark chocolate, molasses, and a touch of distant smokiness. It vaguely reminds me of brownie batter, at least the super rich way I make brownies.

Ok, sitting down for the first steeping sip, sometimes black teas tend to knock me off my feet, I love tea, but oh man, gongfu black teas make my head spin at times. It starts with a creamy mouth feel, creamy and smooth, with just a hint of less creamy at the finish, not dry, just not as creamy. The taste is a gentle note of milk chocolate at the first, that builds, and builds, until my mouth is filled with moderately dark chocolate making for a happy me. The finish is gently smoky with roasted yam notes that linger.

The aroma for the second steep does require sitting down, intense notes of cocoa and malt with gentle smokiness and sweet chocolate slam me in the nostrils. After that, notes of roasted yams and red peppers, that intriguing red pepper note, so peculiar and yet so right. The tasting starts out with a smooth mouthfeel, not quite creamy, more silky smooth, and hello sweet chocolate! Strong notes of milk and dark chocolate mix with malt and gently smoked yams, and holy moly it lingers forever! That is an aftertaste of endless happiness. I am such a sucker for chocolaty teas, they are my weakness (don't I say that about so many teas?)

On to the third steeping, the cocoa notes manage to get even stronger, I am not really sure how, so much chocolate! Alongside the chocolate notes are notes of malt, roasted yams, and that confounding roasted red pepper note from before. The mouthfeel is similar to steep two, with silky smoothness, and the cocoa notes explode out of nowhere, kaboom! Chocolate! It is very malty and sweet, and quite enlivening as well, usually I find these smooth black teas more relaxing, but instead I found this tea to really wake me up, so this one is going on my list of morning teas that actually wake me up without being brisk.

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