Guys, guys, guys!!! My new kettle arrived yesterday!! Sadly I only barely got to use it since shortly after waking (and getting some tea in me) I had to leave for errands and gaming, yes I finally got to go gaming again. I am slowly getting better, it is hard, but I am making a gradual recovery. Not only did my kettle arrive (ah the sweet sound of roaring water, it is music to my ears) but a miniature I ordered a while ago finally arrived at the shop for pick-up, Marike Guardian of the Sea probably the most egotistical paint jobs I will ever do. See I saw this blue haired girly wearing a ton of epic armor and standing on a sea monster while holding an octopus and I immediately thought 'oh hey, someone made a model of me' since I have perpetual mermaid envy. Since I cannot actually be a sea creature, I am going to paint her to be me, yeah, it is pretty silly, but I am a very silly person.
Before I start tea rambling, I should warn my dear readers, I am utterly tea drunk, so if this review gets random and loopy, that is totally my excuse. So, tea, specifically today's tea, MeiMei Fine Tea's Sichuan Imperial Gongfu Black Tea (Gui Fei Hong), a beautiful red tea from Sichuan (specifically Gao Xian County in the Southwest) with a name Gui Fei Hong, or red concubine, which makes me wonder if this is a bug bitten tea, since that is what concubine teas bring to mind. It could just be a pretty name though, which I am perfectly fine with...I mean let's face it, if you put a golden fuzzy red tea in front of me I will jump on it like a starving hyena, I have a weakness for them. The aroma of the really pretty leaves (they are practically sparkly from the fuzzies) is rich and malty, with notes of molasses, cocoa shells, pine resin, red peppercorns, and a gentle sweetness at the finish. This is not a very sweet smelling tea, this one is all about richness, and that gentle spiciness from the peppercorn note adds an interesting well, spice to it.
Into my sad gaiwan the tea leaves go, even though this sage green gaiwan is problematic, the leaves are super pretty against the color of the gaiwan. The aroma of the soggy leaves is a bit sweeter than the dry leaves, with strong notes of malt, cocoa, pine resin and sap, and a touch of pepper. I really enjoy teas with strong pine resin notes, they remind me of happy forest rambling. The liquid is sweet cocoa and malt with a touch of peppercorn and a nice burst of sweet pine sap. The sweetness is like cocoa and honey mixed together, but not exactly chocolate.
The first steep starts with a delightfully smooth mouth, and the taste is sweet, very sweet! It starts as cocoa and malt, and it moves straight on to milk chocolate. The chocolate taste lingers for quite a while, it then moves to a resinous finish giving it a slightly dry mouth at the end.
For the second steep, the aroma is malty and resinous with a strong cocoa and honey note, it is sweet and rich in a balanced way. The taste starts off quite sweet and malty, cocoa and honey with a nice strong malty note. This moves to a touch of roasted peanuts and a finish of resin and molasses, rich and sweet. The mouthfeel is not sticky, but the notes of resin and molasses make it seem thick and sticky, which is a fascinating mind over matter kinda thing.
On to the third steep, the aroma is a triple threat of cocoa, malt, and resin, and those notes are devilishly sweet. The farther into the session I go, the sweeter the aroma is. The taste is sweet and smooth, malty and resinous. Cocoa and honey, molasses and pine, this tea is potent, I got several more steeps before it piddled out, and also used the rest of my sample western style while waiting for my new kettle. Western style is solid, sweet and malty, but this tea really shines when it is brewed gongfu.